The man who calls him the Nigerian Prince of Facebook had a short reprieve after a Better Call Behnken investigation. But now, scammers are back in business.
“I was super happy,” said retired U.S. Colonel Tristan Siegel. “My friends had been waiting on some travel photos from Israel and Ireland and I began posting them. But then, I started getting messages from people overseas saying, ‘Hey, you’re a scammer. I want my money back.’ Or, ‘I’m heartbroken.'”
Women all over the world contact Siegel to say they’re in love with him. Some believe they’re engaged to him. Others are furious at him and accuse him of stealing their money.
Siegel turned to Better Call Behnken after battling with crooks for five years. They stole his Facebook pictures and created fake accounts to trick women.
After our report, life got better. Hundreds of fake accounts were deleted and Siegel was finally able to access his own account again.
But now, weeks later, the fake accounts are back and he says Facebook is not helping much.
“Some of the accounts remain because they say they don’t violate community standards,” Siegel said.
The pages all share one thing: photos of Siegel at various stages of his life, including photos of him with his children. The profile pages sometimes use his full name, but often use a variation of his name.
The fake pages almost always use his last name, Siegel, even though sometimes it is listed as a first name. Siegel believes this is because many of his military pictures include a a photo with his last name on his uniform.
“They’re basically some scenario of, ‘I’m a solider. I’m trapped somewhere in Syria, send money, I need a plane ticket,’ this and that,” Siegel said. “So a lot of women will send thousands of dollars. And I’ve talked to a lot of them, sometimes $8,000 to $10,000 that they’ve lost in these scams.”
Siegel isn’t the only military man with fake profiles used by scammers. Better Call Behnken found pages of fake profiles and even warnings from military groups.
After weeks of corresponding with Facebook on Siegel’s behalf, a spokesman said Siegel’s account was back up and many fakes were gone.
Better Call Behnken sent the new fake profiles to Facebook and we are waiting on a response.