Some users of online dating websites have reported making contact with others claiming to be British Army soldiers on operations around the world, in particular, Afghanistan.
Typically, they have reported building a relationship over time, through correspondence and exchange of photos etc - but eventually there is an attempt to defraud when the spoof soldier either asks for bank account details to transfer a significant amount of money, or by asking for money to enable them to go on leave.
The former is a long-established scam (known as "advance-fee fraud") while the latter is a new, but outright, con. British forces personnel on Operations do not have to pay to go on leave, or to pay for flights, or replacement personnel.
Anyone in such a position should cease all communications and contact their local law enforcement agency.
We do not encourage the use online dating sites and would advise military personnel against adding their personal details to dating sites or those offering to set up penpals.
While we thank members of the public for supporting our troops, we do not have an authorised system for penpals and cannot endorse any websites offering these services.
Remember: people online may not be who they say they are.