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.
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.
Stories That Are Lies
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.
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.
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 require 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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!
- Ask him to give you his AKO email address rather than his yahoo, hotmail, etc. This will be his firstname.lastname@example.org. 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:
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 their 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.
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