An Augusta woman fell victim to an internet scam by wiring $5,765 to a man she met on a military dating Web site.
Tracy Burns, of the 2300 block of Walden Drive, said she communicated with Benson Shiffer, 51 – who claimed to be an Army sergeant – for several weeks on militarycupid.com and through an instant messaging service, according to a Richmond County sheriff’s incident report. Shiffer told Burns she needed to file paperwork for him to leave a foreign country where he was deployed with the Department of Defense.
Burns, 43, received paperwork on Department of Defense letterhead that requested $1,675 to allow for Shiffer’s leave. She wired the money to Jeffrey J. Cruz at Chase Bank in Copiague, New York. Shiffer then sent her a $3,380 check, allegedly from Trans American Life Insurance, which Burns was to cash and then send the money to him, according to the report.
On July 6 and 7, Burns wired $2,100 to Cruz and another $1,990 to Dee Dee Harper in Grant Pass, Ore. Burns received another $3,380 check. When she tried to cash it, the bank informed her that both checks were bad.
Burns questioned Shiffer about the transactions and he stopped communicating with her.
Scam alerts have been linked to Shiffer and the military dating website, according to the report.