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Are You Dating an Army Soldier or a Fake?

If you don’t want to read the rest of this article, there is one surefire way to know if your soldier is fake:

If a soldier you’re “dating” online asks you for money for ANY reason, it’s a scam. Period. End of story. [Click to tweet this]

And as my husband says….If you have to ask, it’s a scam.

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UPDATE: Two women were prosecuted for receiving over one million dollars from 374 people in these scams! Story here.

Since starting the website in 2004, I have received many emails from people who believe they are dating a soldier when, in most cases, they actually are not. Nine times out of ten, they “met” their soldier on a social networking site, such as Facebook, or an online dating site. And he is the one who just happened to find her while he was looking around and decided she’s going to be his future wife. What he really means is she’s going to be his next victim.

soldier-dating-scam

Stories That Are Lies

He’s in Special Operations

1. He is in a special operations unit and therefore cannot share any information with you. It’s true that special ops guys can’t discuss their job but that also means they don’t tell random strangers they’re in special ops. My husband was special ops. When we would go out with a bunch of guys from his unit and people would ask what they did, they simply replied they were in the Army. Special ops guys don’t brag about it. They’re known as “quiet professionals” for a reason.

He’s Been Denied Leave

2. He has been deployed for two years, has been denied leave time and will not be coming home any time soon therefore you won’t be able to meet. If there were soldiers being denied leave after being overseas for years at a time, it would be ALL over the news. It’s a lie.

He’s on a Top Secret Mission

3. He is on a top secret mission in a country other than Iraq or Afghanistan (or even in Iraq or Afghanistan – it’s all lies). Now, we certainly do have troops in other countries. However, they don’t talk about it and they certainly don’t tell you they are on a “top secret mission”. Also, any special operations soldier worth his beret will not reveal his location to someone he doesn’t know (or even someone he does!).

He Needs Permission from Someone in His Unit

4. He says he is not allowed to talk about what he does, however, he has cleared it with his CO that he can tell you enough to make you believe he is who he says. This is followed by outrageous lies. If he truly is not allowed to share any details about his job, his CO doesn’t even allow him to talk about it with family, much less someone he met on the internet. Sometimes with this tactic, they will ask you to email/send mail to the CO to ask for permission. Then the supposed CO sends back a letter asking for money to connect a phone line or some other complete lie.

Everyone Around Him is Dead

5. He says one of the following….his parents died, his wife died in his arms, his wife was killed in a car accident along with all of his children, his children are orphaned and living in some remote location, or he was orphaned……all LIES. My favorite is when they combine all these things. Really? I know some very unlucky people but this is just over the top. And I mean if this was for real and that kind of luck follows him, why do you want to be with him?

He Has No Mailing Address

6. He says he doesn’t have a mailing address because either he is in a classified unit or his position changes so often. Even in special operations, he’ll have an APO address. And this is not a post office box and it’s not in Nigeria!! It also has nothing to do with a Western Union office. And you don’t have to send it through a relative because he can’t give out his address.

He Needs Money for Leave

7. He says he needs you to pay for his R&R leave because the Army doesn’t pay for it. This is absolutely false! A real soldier will not request money to travel home as he doesn’t need it! The Army pays for all travel to and from a war zone. This includes emergency travel like the death of a loved one. It’s not like you just book your own flight home from Afghanistan on Delta.

He Needs You to Request His Leave

8. He says he can come home but you have to request his leave through an email address. If all an Army spouse had to do was email her soldier’s commander to get him home from deployment, don’t you think ALL Army spouses would be doing this? There would be no one deployed. The Army does not allow leave requests from Army family members. In fact, even in the case of the death of an immediate family member, the information has to be verified by the American Red Cross before the soldier’s command is contacted for possible leave by officials at the Red Cross – they don’t just take your word for it.

He Needs You to Pay for a Phone Line

9. He wants you to pay for a phone line, cell phone or calling card so you can talk to each other. Real soldiers can call home for FREE. My husband deployed multiple times and we never paid for a single phone call. If he asks for this, he’s a scam artist. Not to mention, soldiers are making enough to buy a phone card if they really had to.

He’s About to Retire

10. He’s about to retire and then he can marry you and live happily ever after. This usually also includes stories about being a higher ranking officer. Typical story and it’s all lies. Real officers have even LESS time to be online talking to strangers over the internet.

His Child Needs XYZ

11. He has a child that is dying or needs surgery (or some other medical emergency) and he needs the money to pay for it. All military dependents are covered by Tricare, which for the most part is amazing insurance. I had a c-section and was in the hospital in a private room for three days. Know how much I paid? $12. Real soldiers aren’t paying out of pocket for their kid’s medical care.

He’s a General

12. And he’s only 28! Wow, talk about a quick advancement! LOL A General will have well over 20 years of service and less than 1% of officers will make it to the rank of General. On top of that, Generals make a minimum of $12,000 per month in JUST base pay. So why exactly would he need money from you?

His Pay is Deposited in the U.S. and He Has No Access

13. Seriously? First, the Army is providing the essentials while you’re deployed so there’s not a need for a lot of money overseas. Second, you can have access to your money, so this is yet another lie. There are ATMs on any main post and the PX accepts debit and credit cards. If he says he’s somewhere that there isn’t an ATM or another way to get money, there is also nothing for him to spend money on. So why does he need it?

He’s On a Peacekeeping Mission in {insert name of country}

14. Last time I checked we aren’t on a lot of peacekeeping missions in Nigeria and Syria. And if we were, a real soldier wouldn’t tell you that.

Verify The Truth

So how can you find out if he’s telling the truth?

The absolute best way to verify is with #2 – ask him to email you from his AKO address.

  1. Ask for his mailing address overseas. If he can’t provide one, he is lying. There is nothing secretive about an APO address. And an APO address will not be a post office box. It’s also not at a Western Union office!
  2. Ask him to give you his AKO email address rather than his yahoo, hotmail, etc. This will be his firstname.lastname@us.army.mil. All soldiers have an AKO account. There is NO reason why he can’t provide it – regardless of what unit he is assigned to, what his mission may be, who he’s working for, etc. And the AKO account is free so him saying his credit card hasn’t been processed or his account is locked because he didn’t pay is also a lie. If he refuses to provide this, he’s fake.

I originally had other questions you could ask regarding his training, etc, but I’m removing those because many people believed whatever ridiculous information he came up with when they asked.

But you say he’s sent you pictures or a copy of his ID?

Many have been provided pictures, copies of military identification cards, even videos. First, pictures can be grabbed from anywhere on the internet – there’s no guarantee you’re talking to that person. They may very well be using the picture of a real soldier but that doesn’t mean you’re talking to him. Some of these scumbags are using the pictures of soldiers who were killed in action to run their scams. It’s sick.

Someone told me once they were dating a General and she even had pictures. I told her to send them to me. Guess who the pictures were of? David Petraeus!

Some use totally fake pictures in uniforms that are all messed up – I’ve seen Army uniforms with Air Force tapes and Navy insignia – no joke.

I’ve seen very badly doctored military ID cards where it’s obvious he’s typed over information on the card. What’s funny is he’ll type over the only legitimate information on the card and replace it with something that makes no sense. Such as rank of SPC and pay grade of MAJ.

The pictures they use many times on military IDs are so fake and it’s so obvious. Real military ID pictures basically look like a mugshot – solid background with him in uniform and basically only showing his face (maybe the very top of his shoulders). Someone sent me one the other day that not only looked nothing like a military ID (more like a business card for a recruiter), it had a picture of a soldier who was obviously at a military ball or some other formal event as he had a bow tie with his dress uniform. That is NOT an ID picture.

Or maybe he’s added you on Facebook and even changed his relationship status to you

The Army posted this example on their Facebook page:

scam-soldier

So exactly which one are you dating? Oh and by the way, I’ve never seen a soldier unless it was on an official page (such as the base commander’s page) that uses his rank in his name.

Soldiers Don’t Have Time For This

99.9% of military guys overseas don’t have the time available to them to email, chat and Skype for hours at a time or even every day online. They are too busy doing their JOB. And most have no interest in “dating” someone online while they’re deployed. Continuing to talk to their loved one that they knew before deployment? Absolutely! Time to peruse dating sites and chat for hours? Absolutely not.

But he said he loves you and wants to marry you….even though you “met” last week

I’m assuming if you’re falling for this, you’ve never been in a military town. Go downtown in a military town to a club one night and let me know how many single soldiers are there looking for the love of their life….not exactly what their goal is. And when you’re thousands of miles away from each other, he doesn’t have the opportunity to sleep with you. So the point would be???

Many of these stories contain comments about him saying he loves you within a few days/weeks of starting to talk or he wants to marry you as soon as he returns. Let’s get this straight – you haven’t met and certainly haven’t had the opportunity to have any kind of physical relationship, yet he wants to marry you? Does this sound feasible to you? If you’re even hesitating on the answer, I’ll help you. It’s not. They’re lying so they can get in your wallet. And they’re doing this to many others at the same time they’re doing it to you. It’s just who is going to open up access to their bank account first.

But you asked him if he was a scammer and he said no!

Come on, think about this! Why would he admit it to you? Or even better, he told you he is in fact a scammer but he REALLY loves you…..as long as you keep sending him money.

He hasn’t asked for money yet though

Don’t worry, he will. If any of the above signs sound familiar, it’s only a matter of time. He may get pretty far into his story before he asks. He may wait until his plane is suppose to leave and you’re meeting him in less than 24 hours. Then all of the sudden disaster strikes and he needs three grand to be able to come home. LIES!

Even though he’s doing these things, you still think he’s the real deal

I hate to be harsh but if any of the above sounds familiar, it’s a SCAM. Don’t sit there and think you’re the exception. You’re not the lucky one who’s encountered these signs but somehow your guy is the real deal. He’s FAKE. He doesn’t love you. He doesn’t want to marry you. And sooner or later, he’s going to ask for money.

I get emails and messages (or comments) from people who tell me the story and ask me if he’s fake. I answer yes, it’s a scam. And what do they do? Keep asking me more questions – but he does this or he said this or he sent me these pictures. Guess what? The answer is still the same. It’s a scam. Go back and read the first line in bold at the top of this article. I don’t care if he asks you to mail him a penny – a real soldier will NOT ask you for money. A real soldier makes more overseas than he does when he’s home!!

The Scam Checklist

So let me sum this up:

  • If he’s asking for money for a phone line, it’s a scam.
  • If he’s asking for money for travel home, it’s a scam.
  • If he needs you to help him move money from one location to another, it’s a scam.
  • If he asks for your bank account information, it’s a scam.
  • If he wants you to wire money for ANY reason via Western Union (or similar service), it’s a scam.
  • If he asks you to email his command so he can come home, it’s a scam.
  • If he tells you to open a bank account or credit card for him, it’s a scam (and this one could get you into legal trouble!)

PLEASE quit sending these people money! If you’re just itching to give away your money, send it to me! haha After all, I’ve spent more hours than I can count updating this article with the latest techniques and answering questions here and elsewhere.

Finally, if you don’t believe me, please read this article from the Army – Soldier Scams

About the author: Stacey is an Army wife of a soldier who joined in 2003. He has since been medically retired but she continues to provide information to Army wives and families to make their adjustment to the Army lifestyle easier. Connect with Stacey: Facebook Twitter Pinterest

{ 1262 comments… add one }

  • Susan September 26, 2014, 7:39 am

    I have been chatting with someone who claims to be Captain Roberts Kenneth Lee. He says he is on a peacekeeping mission in El Gora. He wants to retire and marry me. BUT he wants me to first put in for a secure line to be able to talk to him, AND that I have to register for Military Wives, before he can put in for retirement which I need to request. I reluctantly did, after I started reading up on this….just to see what would happen. Well I got the first response back regarding the secure line….they want me to pay $480.00 for 5 months. And the reply when I registered is that they want me to pay $520.00. The kicker now is..when I broke up and called him out on it, and said to NEVER contact him again. ……Now he just emailed that if I do this he will hurt himself! What should I do?

  • Marianne September 26, 2014, 12:59 pm

    I served my first tour as an Aeroscout Platoon Leader in the 5th Infantry Division, Ft. Polk, Louisiana. My next assignment was as the Assistant S3, 1-502d ATK AVN Regt, 2AD, Ft. Hood, Texas; followed by S2, 1-4th ATK AVN Regt, 4ID, Ft. Hood. After attending the MI Advanced Course, I served as the S4, 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regt, Republic of Korea. Upon return from Korea, I served as the S1, 1-3d ATK AVN Regt, 3ID, Hunter Army Airfield, Georgia. I then commanded Alpha Company, 1-3d ATK AVN Regt, 3ID, Hunter Army Airfield. After attending Army Command and General Staff College, i served as the Brigade S3, and later as the Brigade XO, of the 21st Cavalry Brigade, Ft. Hood. In 2005, I was selected to be the Brigade S3, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4ID, Ft. Hood, and served in that position throughout the unit’s deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom 2005-06. My most recent assignment was as the G3 Chief of Current Operations/Aviation, Early Entry Command Post (Airborne), USARAK, Ft. Richardson, Alaska.

    My awards include the Bronze Star Medal, Meritorious Service Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters, Army Commendation Medal with 4 Oak Leaf Clusters, Iraqi Campaign Medal, Korea Defense Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal for Hurricane Katrina, two Overseas Service Ribbons, and a Meritorious Unit Citation from Operation Iraqi Freedom. I has earned the Senior Aviator Badge and the Parachutist Badge. I am qualified in the AH-64D Longbow Apache, the AH-64A Apache, the OH-58 Kiowa, and the UH-1 Iroquois “Huey” Helicopter. I have been in the force for 25 years and been in Kabul(Afghanistan) for 6 months and will having my retirement in March and am also a Special Ops and an air craft technician and here in the middle east is just like a world without no fear just all about pain and sorrow and that’s why we here and try to protect the nation we serve….

    So this is all fake from Paul White????
    LOL didnot fall for it for one minute maybe I’ll ask for money first

  • Audra September 27, 2014, 4:32 pm

    Trying to scam women. Keith carraway says he is a staff sargent in Egypt. Will send love poems and tell you he loves you so much. And Scott Schoop. Says his wife passed away from breast cancer years ago, has a daughter, is in Iraq, needs money to have a phone and his own internet, also for leave, Also in love within the first week or so. So sad. Please don’t send money and don’t even talk to them.

  • Cate September 28, 2014, 11:37 am

    Thank you so much for this article, I having been IM’ing with a guy who claims to have a higher ranking position in the Army and claims he is retiring in 2 months and wants to marry me. Then, all of a sudden he wants money wired to someone claiming to be a lawyer with Chevron to receive his package for him. Anyways I do not believe him but the tough part for me is he has been using Christianity to manipulate me. I feel bad and he came at a time when I am lonely, not dating. Thank you again.

  • tracy September 29, 2014, 1:33 am

    I’m so glad I found this site I am currently talking to a guy that say he is colonel in the US army his name is Kendrick araujo he has asked me to send him money to set up a phone line and if I can send him a phone cause his phone is crap thank god I haven’t sent a thing after reading the comments on this site I will be asking him for his apo address and his ako adress thank god I haven’t sent any money

  • Cate September 29, 2014, 7:17 am

    I was able to confirm my fake army guy is for sure a fake thanks to the posts on here. I ran his pic through tin eye and found him, I do not know who the guy in the pic really is but the guy I have been talking to is from Ghana. He went by the name Calvin, he is been on speed date, USmilitarysingle and his email is lovelyheart54@live.com. I have an IP address too.

  • Lynett September 30, 2014, 9:20 am

    Hi ladies am from South Africa i have been scamed by the guy claim to be an US army currently he is in Afghanistan in Kabul. His name is Ernest scott Lopez he said he is 47years old he has a daughter her name is Jessica she lives with her granny in America, we have been chatting since August 24 till last friday when he told me that he has a money on him huge amount of money that he got it from Muammar Gaddafi, when he went to his house for his arrest, so now he cant take this money to US when he go back to his country cause he may end his biautiful carier, so he want to move this money here in SOUTH AFRICA by Deplomatic carrier services so i can use this money for my personal use and keep same for him, until he comes to my country for our marriege plan, but i have to pay 1,500,00USD for clearence of the money, thank God i have know about the scam i was waiting for him to ask the money. What i dont like about this scammers they are using pictures of US army with they are familys like this so called Ernest he send me the foto of this soldier and his mother it is not good, i find out that this guy he is in NIGERIA in LAGOS.

  • Joy September 30, 2014, 12:23 pm

    Hi, I have been talking to a guy by the name of Jason Gordon for a good few weeks now, initially he didnt tell me he was in the US Army, until we were talking about what our occupations are, and he said he was on tour out in Kabul Afghanistan! We have been talking a good few weeks now, but he is restricted to when he is on, and sometimes, he is on, but the server or signal seems to be very slow! He said he lives in Chicago but is from Texas!

  • Jody September 30, 2014, 7:00 pm

    I too fell for this. I didn’t send him money but became very suspicious when he asked me to send 2 new iphones, sealed and brand new. It seemed odd and that is when I realized it was a scam. However now I’m terrified that he knows my email address and phone number. How can we stop this? Is there somewhere we can report an individual falsely claiming to be a US Military Officer? Does anyone know how to file a complain with the US Army so they can be aware there are people claiming to be military personnel fraudulently?

    Thank you and best wishes to everyone. I guess there are all kinds of scum in this world… but to impersonate one of our service men is truly sick.

  • Mary October 1, 2014, 12:00 pm

    I have had 3 “army” guys on my friends list. 2 of the 3 have asked for things. “Army” guy #1 asked for a care package, cell phone, help with his son’s day care expenses, and a flight out of Kabul. “Army” guy #2 asked me to fill out a leave request and $3,ooo. “Army” guy #3 didn’t ask for anything, but took himself off of my friends list when I asked for his APO address. They like to take pictures of really gorgeous guys and use them to trick you. How do I find out about the guys in the pictures? If they are real and are they in the U.S. or stationed overseas.

  • Missy October 2, 2014, 4:02 pm

    Stacey I forgot to ask you, besides all this being a shame and that all these scammers should be in jail, I would really want to know if there are real sites where u can actually meet real army soldiers for real I was in love with a Leutenant Commander from the navy years ago and lost track of him because of some circumstances in life. We were very much in love and I tried to look him up but I haven´t been able to find him.
    Thanks again for you site it came just in time

    • Stacey Abler October 8, 2014, 8:31 pm

      You can also go through some of the places that send care packages, etc to soldiers overseas. But just know it’s not a dating service and you don’t have any input on who you’re assigned. It’s just a way to support the troops.

  • carol larocque October 5, 2014, 10:57 pm

    A Martin Markson apparently stationed un Afghanistan US General asking for money to
    ship boxes with money insiside to my home in Canada. He contacted me from LinkedIn.Does anyone this this person?

  • Luc October 7, 2014, 9:02 am

    Hi Stacey.

    Thank you very much for this article. I think I’m already in the middle of something and perhaps a few more steps, I’ll end up being scammed. I’ll be doing a few more security steps and once I’ve received the responses that’ll prove my suspicions, I’ll certainly post more information here to help other. Your tips here have really been helpful. You have my appreciation and gratitude for your article here. God bless you, Stacy!

  • Diana Lynn Shafer October 7, 2014, 11:12 am

    Hello, my name is Diana, I have just a bit of a different story. First i don’t use my real name on Facebook. But I totally understand where your all coming from. Mine little fake was somehow on a friend of mines fb friends list. He had sent me a request a few days before i even knew they were there, I then read them and omg. He had already started in his inital letter to me on messenger.But it took him a few days to start telling me that he loved me and wanted to spend his life with me, he had already told his mom and kids about me.They were so very happy for him. Not Even a week passed and he had asked for money for his mom to get thingsthat his kids needed and to help put food on the table.He proceeded to ask me if I had any money at all that I could help with. I said look i live on disability i have no money. He was darling this baby that, he then asked me what bank my went to. I told him my money comes straight to me and that i waslucky to have a dollar left out of it after i pay my bill’s. I had already been questioning his loving someone he had know clue about,but I played him as well or better than he had me. Lol. I was playing his game.HE THEN asked me to go open an account so that i could help him send money to mom, and if I knew of any resources to help his mom.I said well the first thing is go file for foodstamps, o hell he was outraged,saying darling i will not subject my family to foodstamps.Well that upset me,, because being on ssi check i had foodstamps,and i don’t have a problem with it. So I started asking him questions And he really didn’t like that at all, so he blocked me from fb..but continued to text me because he loved me. Lol. I played him like a fiddle I had already been searching him on Google,, and Yahoo. He can’t outsmart a marine corp mom,,,,, I was loveing it,, I already knew, well the Monday before my payday on that wensday he told me go ahead and open that bank acouñt.Ok I told him,,,, yeah right,, well i guess he caught on I haven’t heard from him again and it’s been about 2weeks now.but I’ve found him n Illinois, and I’m sure hes calling me a few choice names. Sargent special ops Lugan Cutcher.there is no LUGAN CUTCHER. Thank you all so much for your help. Sincerely ,,Diana..

  • Jennifer October 8, 2014, 5:53 pm

    Found a “sgt” on OKCupid by the name of Dustin Martinez. Gave me his cell phone number to text after about three messages on the site and said he is deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan. Now, about four weeks later after lots of texts and emails, he’s asking for money to help pay for his cell phone bill, since it’s really expensive to text and go online from there. Of course, the way to get money to him for him to put on his military calling card is to go to Western Union, send it to a third person, and then they will make sure it gets to his account. Supposedly, his bill is around $2400. His email is dustinmartinez338@yahoo.com. Think I’ll ask to meet up after the second email with the next person I meet online. What a waste of time and energy.

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