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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.


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

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:


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

{ 1179 comments… add one }

  • Ellen August 2, 2014, 5:06 pm

    I feel so bad and humiliated!
    Just found out today that the man in Afghanistan ( a lieutenant) I’m talking too for about 5 weeks is a scam. I’m so mad and sad! This scam let me filled up documents (fake I found out), I need to pay (with money back garantee lol) between 1200 – 1800 USD for a life insurance for his vacation… I just want to know is how I can localize ore compare with the real soldier? Where can I find out? I’m living in France. Thanks for your help!
    PS: already send a complaint to IC3, french internet police and army CID crime tips

  • Moira August 5, 2014, 10:46 pm

    Beware of John Greene, aka Harris Smith. Goodenergy800@gmail.com. Stalking on Okcupid.com. He is a Nigerian scammer, and is very good. Kept up communication for 6 weeks before asking for money. He didn’t want money for leave. He wanted money for artwork. He wanted to open an art gallery when he retires in September….. He has very good photoshopped images. Your best effort to thwart this is to use Spokeo to look up info and use google images to look up images. You’ll be amazed at the results….. His online/profile images can be queried on scamdiggers.com.

    • Laura August 8, 2014, 8:31 pm

      This one actually talked to me on p.o.f. then off line by texts only. He says hes a sergeant and he talks everyday. Hes supposedly in the middle east and wants me to open an account for him to have funds to. I know he’s using an email sgtjames with 3 numbers i don’t remember what at yahoo. I do have a supposed telephone number. But i know they don’t carry phones on them i did continue to talk just to see. Within 3 days he wanted me to open an bank account so he could have funds transferred in and then i could send them somewhere else. When i said i don’t feel comfortable and was sitting with my uncle whos a state trooper he played the i understand and still wanna talk because he cares even if i don’t want to help. Supposedly hes gonna be 40 in November and he will be eligible for his inheritance than… at this point i kept it going just to get as much as i can to warn women. For one thing the pic the guy has to be like 20′s next he kept on with the god has in store for us. Then the big will you open a bank account for me.. if you want anymore info. Please contact me. Hes using an Alabama area code but lives in South Carolina. I live in Massachusetts. He wouldn’t of found me unless targeting that area… but i kept info in my phone if anyone needs to compare it and number. I didn’t do any of this cause i knew something was not right
      Thank you

      • Moira August 13, 2014, 10:14 pm

        Hi Laura,
        I found “him” again on OkCupid under a similar screen name but a different profile picture. He “talked” to me everyday, except Sundays via text or email. I even got a few phone calls…. “He” is a pro scammer. He is on several dating sites using the young picture. He has many different aliases. If you look up the phone # on Spokeo.com (it does cost $) You can find out where the # originates. If you want to report him, go to http://www.cid.army.mil/romance_scam.html.
        Your best bet is simply to cease all communication with him. Trust your gut girl….. And educate yourself!

        • Moira August 14, 2014, 8:51 pm

          Also Laura…. these people don’t target geographical areas. They target specific age groups on dating sites. Generally for women, it’s single and over 40…. They are very good profilers! My “John Greene” came up with a story very specific to my background. But that being said, his original money request was for many thousands of dollars….

  • nick August 6, 2014, 12:51 am

    hi everyone

    i just wanted to let you all know that this isn’t only happening to straight people in america. i’m a gay man and i live in Sydney, and i was contacted when chatting on a gay social website by a guy who told me that he was in the army and stationed in afghanistan as an engineer who serviced those amazing folding bridges and other machinery. we chatted awhile and when i asked whereabouts he was located (as i’ve been there myself and know the geography and layout of the country) he said he ‘couldn’t tell me’. ok, i took that as given- maybe he couldn’t.

    so, having accepted that we chatted a few more times over a couple weeks when i noticed he was online, including this morning when i greeted him and asked him what his schedule was for the day. he said that ‘things were a bit hectic at the base this morning’ noting that general greene had been killed by a rogue afgani ‘soldier’, which i knew was true and which was in the news today. i commiserated with him about how terrible it was that this had occurred, but then, out of the blue and apropos of nothing he asked me if i would buy him a laptop or a mobile phone so he could connect in his own time in the privacy of his own room! what surprised me the most was that he was so cavalier about this horrendous thing that had happened to his top, commanding officer at the base where he was (Camp Qargha, to the west of Kabul) and all he could think of was to ask me to buy him something.

    it made stop and think that this is no real military man. a true solider would be upset about what had happened but more importantly no self respecting solider would ask a foreigner in another country to send him things he could get for himself with his hard earned pay. it also made me think that he was using this to validate what else he’d told me about himself and where he was. he fell down in the delivery and his behaviour when doing so…

    at any rate, i’m hoping he’ll contact me again because i’d like like to string him along a bit more, though if i ask questions he can’t answer he’ll probably drop out of sight. his name is jesse reed, or reed something… heh, it could be bozo the clown for all i know…

    it’s all good for a laugh, eh? ;)

    look after yourselves and don’t let these scum get you!

    • Laura August 8, 2014, 8:39 pm

      Good for you. I did the same thing. Mine was on p.o.f. his line is makinglove. Looking for my juliet. So i have gathered all info i could to report it. To anyforum there is to listen. I didn’t send money haha or open a bank account for him. Thanks sincerely Laura

  • Angel August 9, 2014, 2:09 am

    Hi. Listen and read my story carefully… let me start off stating that I am an older gay male. Trying to date a younger man. (that can truly be my son)
    I started chatting with this soldier stationed in Afaghanistan online several months ago. He has a yahoo.com account . (his name , last name @yahoo.com) He stated he loved me and wanted to marry me a few weeks after we started chatting online. He accepted me even with me having a very serious health problem . Stating he would even die for me. He is coming home sometime this coming September…Will let me know when his general tells him his departing date. He always omits lots of things when we’re online (yahoo. messanger)almost every other day for at least 45 min. or so.) I send him a very expensive care package like a month ago . He really did’nt comment to much on it after he recieved it. He directed me to send it to a diplomat . He told me he was on a peace mission. He sent me a package that costed me three thousand dollars and I still haven’t recieved it . He told me it was a surprise . A diplomat was to deliver this package to me at the step of my house. The diplomat emailed me several times demanding money , for hotel expensives, air tickets , and for the package it self. This diplomat also called me several times from a (private number) and from Ghana/Spain. Wish I never responded to . All this money I sent to a third party through Western Union . The diplomat kept asking me through emails for more and more money. Of course I stopped . I’m now concerned because I gave this soldier my address and cell number. I also sent him pictures of myself and other family members as well . I email him and he rarely emails me back. He claims to arrive in the month of September to be my lover and to marry me. Stating age is just a number. Knowing my health issue is no problem to him. At this point I’m so confused I don’t know what to do especially if he does show up at my house. I told him I was’nt intertesed anymore and he still insists the times we’ve been online we wants to be with me no matter what. His gramatical writing is horrible on yahoo messanger and when he decides to email me it worst. Yes, I felt in love with him. Nobody has ever told me the things he has said. His job is patroling of some kind. He goes on missions and is out for two or three days. I got myself into this mess and I can’t get out. Before you shoot you . What is your advice? Do you think he’ll want me to pick him up at the airport? What is the content of this famous box ? That diplomat courier never called or emailed me back again. Are all these people fake or real? Do I still need to be hanged for asking you this stupid question ? I’m making a joke out of this if not I’ll go crazier than I am at this point . All my fault for falling in love with a soldier …or whoever the hell he is including his diplomat and third party assistance (person I sent money to) This has been a nightmare! Hope you found my story different and interesting. ….and crazy at the same time…I guess its not only woman falling for this …gays as well…..
    Can you share with others my experience being gay in a situation of this nature?

    • Stacey Abler August 13, 2014, 8:58 pm

      I’m sorry to tell you it’s all a scam. Soldiers have no reason to be asking for money or expensive care packages. They also don’t use diplomats to deliver packages, etc. It’s just a continual game these scammers play to get more and more money. It’s highly unlikely he’ll do anything with your personal information other than continue to harass you for more money. You can always report it to local authorities if you’re concerned for your safety. But in most cases, once they realize the money well has gone dry, they’ll move on to the next victim. I’m sorry.

  • Kathy August 9, 2014, 3:16 pm

    Wondering if it is true that soldiers are not allowed to have profiles on dating websites. I have seen a pattern of men with no profile pic or background info. They initiate chats from across the country and then immediately want personal email info so they can send pics and share more conversation. I have no plans of sharing personal contact info and have said that while asking why not just post pics to the dating site profile. The common line is that they are in Afghanistan, aren’t allowed to use dating sites, but are doing it anyway since they will be home in 3 months and are about to retire. Sounds like a bunch of hogwash to me.

  • Sheryl August 10, 2014, 9:12 pm

    I was contacted by a soldier by the name of Derek Richardson. Said he was a widower with 2kids. He said he was in Special Ops. After talking for a few weeks he told me his squad was shipped to Afghanistan. We talked a bit until he told me I would need to purchase a VPN for us to have a secure connection due to him being in special ops. The VPN would cost anywhere from $360-$860 dollars. I told him I could not do that. He then told me he was heart broken. A day or do later he emailed me and said he was taken off the field for psychological reasons and I was driving him nuts because he loved me do much and we could not communicate as he said he had to walk 18 miles to get to internet.
    A day later he emailed me again and sId the way out was to have me open a new bank account so he could fwd his bonuses to me to help him get them to his lawyer. I emailed him and gold him no and told him I knew he was not the man in the picture he sent me. Just sad that this had to happen.
    His email address is richwrecker7@yahoo.com. Was going to post his pic was not able to.

  • Karen Humbert August 12, 2014, 7:06 pm

    Captain Jason Steingiesser is my online dater. He emailed me from his supposed military email address, sent me pics in and out of uniform. The uniform pic has his name on it and he hasn’t asked for money or anything but to chat so far. We met on 28th July on match. Com. He’s called me and we chatted briefly. I must say, I was suspicious and now when I found this site its confirmed my gut feeling. Two other women on here already have stated they’re talking to someone of the same name. We had fun chatting and seemed to hit it off. Guess that means he has a lot of practice! I’m still concerned he used a military address though. That’s concerning being there’s so much software available on line to scam anyone nowadays. My advice: never ever give money to an invisible person online. Be careful out there!

    • Angel August 16, 2014, 11:05 pm

      Thank you Stacey for your information. The called “soldier” never emailed or text me again.
      What a nightmare! I will never forget about this experience. I asked him for his ako address
      and he said it was blocked . At the beginning I truly thought he was in love with me. How stupid of me to even believe that. Today, I have to come up with 3,050.00 to pay back to all those people I borrowed this money from.
      Thank God when I was about to send more money, the people where I went to send this money gave me an advice not to send anymore money to this person or anybody in those countries period!. Among other things they told me. I was very sad and depressed about this whole situation. If he does show up in September(which I know he won’t) I will call the police on the spot. All these scammers need to be in jail and going straight to hell if they don’t repent. I truly learned my lesson . A lesson I will never forget.

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