A Minnesota mother whose son died in Afghanistan was shocked to find the his photographs being used on several dating websites in the last five years.
Ben Kopp, an Army Ranger, died while serving in 2009. He was honored during the 2010 Rose Bowl parade because of his multiple life-saving organ donations. A Rosemount High School scholarship was also created in his name.
His mother Jill Stephenson was disgusted to learn photographs of her son are being fraudulently used to woo women on OkCupid, DateHookup and Plenty of Fish.
“It made me sick to my stomach, to be honest,” Stephenson told KMSP-TV. “They say imitation is the greatest form of flattery, and in this case, I don't think it is.”
The username on the photographs is "DavidMerced35," whose profile says he “wants to find someone to marry.”
One of the women who spoke with David Mercede35 told KMSP-TV that they had spoken to the man on the phone, but he always made excuses not to meet face to face.
“He's luring them with a photo of a man who looks nothing like him, so they think they are going to meet this young, good-looking guy and they could show up and not know who he is,” Stephenson said.
According to the Daily Mail, a number of Kopp’s friends, including Army Rangers, have contacted the sites over the fraudulent profile. So far only the Plenty of Fish profile has been deleted.
“One of them I did see is dated November of December of 2013, so we're going back almost a year,” Stephenson added. “This guy has been at it for a while, and it's time he stopped.”
She was also sickened to learn from looking at the websites that some women had sent the fraudster care packages.
"To get a woman to believe he's serving his country and he's not - and getting them to send care packages, wow," she said. "That's appalling to me."
His mother has spoken with an attorney to see if she can take legal action to shut down DavidMerced35.
Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / anja_johnson