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Online scam impersonates new USAFE commander

Person soliciting money pretends to be Gen. Gorenc

Aug. 5, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
The real Gen. Frank Gorenc.
The real Gen. Frank Gorenc. (Air Force)
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Don’t be fooled if someone claiming to be “Gen. Frank Gorenc” contacts you over Skype or social media and asks for money.

At least one online scammer is pretending to be Gorenc, who became commander of U.S. Air Forces in Europe on Aug. 2.

“We are aware of phishing scams impersonating senior military officials and encourage everyone to use extreme caution and sound judgment if someone asks for personal information or financial assistance,” USAFE spokesman Lt. Col. Paul Baldwin said in an email. “I can assure you our leadership here is not using Skype or any other social media platform to solicit funds.”

One woman who contacted Air Force Times said she communicated through Skype with someone claiming to be Gorenc. The person told her a story about a sick girl in Ghana who needed 1,000 euros for medical treatment.

When the woman said she didn’t have that much money, the scammer asked for 600 euros. At that point, she told the person she didn’t believe he was Gorenc.

“He called me an ‘old heartless witch’ and some more,” said the woman, who asked not to be identified, in an email. “Then I tell him I’m to talk with the U.S. Air Force about him and than he switched off the Skype.”

She has not heard from him since, but she did some digging and found at least 20 people on Skype pretending to be Gorenc.

“I hate gangsters like this and I hope somebody can stop them one time,” the woman said.

A quick web search turned up an email address for someone claiming to be Gorenc. Contacted by Air Force Times, the person denied asking people for money.

“I’m General Frank Gorenc from u.s,” the person wrote. “im presently war zone in Afghanistan for peace keeping mission. no woman is sick that we make to need money from any one, i have money. if you hear that from any once that says, is Gen Frank Gorenc please dont believe it. i hear this before that Africans are using my name to take money from people’s please dont believe it. im doing good on my job, everything is fine.”

“General Frank Gorenc” did not appear to recognize the name of the Air Force Times reporter, who interviewed the real Gorenc a week earlier.

Air Force Times forwarded the email and the information provided by the reader to the Air Force Office of Special Investigations.

“Word from our operations directorate is that we have no open investigation on this particular scam,” OSI spokeswoman Linda Card said in an email. “OSI has to be tasked by higher Air Force authority to investigate all its cases. We have received no official tasking to investigate this scam.

“All victims of these scams are encouraged to call the Internet Crime Complaint Center with their tips and complaints about Internet and Skype scams, not go directly to OSI,” she said. “If an Air Force investigation is warranted, that agency will contact Air Force leadership directly and request official investigative support if necessary.”

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