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“I was helping her out with her tuition and I got scammed,” he said.“I was on a [forward operating base] most of the time, so any contact with humans helped, so I kind of got milked out of that.” Hallenbeck, who was deployed from June 2006 to June 2007 in Uruzgan province in south-central Afghanistan, declined to disclose how much money he had lost — but said it was far less than the woman who fell for a photo of him.

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The online conversations with this woman, who said she was from Nigeria, were comforting, a distraction from combat.

But after three or four months, Hallenbeck, 47, said he realized she was lying to him.

If they start asking for money- or for you to send them packages to Nigeria for any reason- stop talking immediately. Paul Hallenbeck was deployed to Afghanistan when he met a woman online. He had been mobilized individually, away from his unit, and tasked to deploy with the 41st Brigade Combat Team from Oregon.

His job had him training the Afghan army, and he was often outside the wire on dangerous missions.

The woman, who agreed to an interview as long as she was not identified, said she lost about ,000 to a scam.

Carla, as she will be known here, also could have been charged with forgery for attempting to cash bogus bills sent to her by the scammer.

"Redden" even went so far as to try to influence what he thought was Krystene's daughter- telling the child her mother needed to send him money to help is own daughter in a Nigerian hospital. When Krystene finally called him on the scam- he was evasive, defiant, and insistant that she had the wrong idea. If you're communicating online with a man who wants a relationship, don't give out any personal information like your address, financial information or personal information about your family.

Then finally, something she was not expecting- a threat. Wait for several months, at least to find out more about them.

He is not the only service member whose name and photo were used to fool women into sending money to con artists. Richard Bartch had his photos lifted from a family morale Web site by a con artist who then asked women to send money to help pay for the shipment of his luggage as he made his way home from Iraq.

The real Bartch, who lives in Spokane, Wash., knows his name and likeness have been used in the scam, but the nature of the identity theft has limited his options. Just because the guy’s using my name, there’s not any real recourse,” Bartch said.

Searching the internet, she discovered Redden was using someone else's picture.