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How to Avoid a Military Dating Scam

MSG Robert Mclaughlin has been assisting our readers ferret out military dating scammers since I wrote Internet Dating Scam: Fake Soldiers back in October of 2009.

Moreover, he’s also been educating us about how to avoid getting caught up in a military dating scam.

His latest comment highlighted in point form all the things to look for when you meet someone online who says he or she is in the military. (Note: some changes have been made to the original text simply for readability. The original meaning remains unchanged).

  1. If he says he is military do not trust, especially if he uses a hotmail, yahoo or other free email account address. Ask for his email address ending in .mil. All military folks have one. If he says he doesn’t have one, or won’t give it to you, he is not a soldier. If he says it’s secret then demand the other one. YES, there are classified email addresses out there but all military personnel also have an unclassified address.
  2. Is he claiming that someone in his family died? Wife, parents, kid,etc? Check the social security death index to verify his claims.
  3. Is he divorced? Ask him in which county he received his divorce decree. Records of the divorce will be on file and many counties have the information online now.
  4. If he is telling you that he needs money to take leave, here are some facts. We earn 2.5 days of leave per month. That’s 30 days a year. If we pay for leave we only pay the plane ticket in the states. So maybe he needs $400 to fly coast to coast. You do not want a man who cannot even afford a plane ticket at that age. We pay no money for leave at all. The form we use is DA31, Google it. Anything else is fake.
  5. If he is under cover or on secret work he would never tell you unless you have a clearance and a need to know what he does. So that is a lie.
  6. Ask for a picture of his CAC card or have him take a picture of himself for you and have him write your name on a piece of paper for the photo. That is very simple to do.
  7. Scammers who lure women talk of love now and in the future. Scammers who lure men do so with promises of sex. Remember if the person is not acting like the opposite sex, it is a scam.
  8. Ask their name, rank, and social. Not classified and even what you tell the enemy when captured. If he wants you to show your devotion by sending money, well he can show his by providing information you can verify.
  9. I have checked out over 50 claimed soldiers for folks here. Only one was really who he said he was. The odds are that his claim of being a soldier is fake if you have doubts.

Thanks again kindly to MSG Robert Mclaughlin for providing us with this very useful information.


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Comments

  1. joan richmond says:

    I was talking to a guy in Afghanistan, saying he is out of time and needs S2000 to get home to see me. I searched his name and family everbody was dead in that family. So 3 weeks later he seen me on match and yelled at me saying i dont love. But he would forgive me if i payed for his friend to get on there. He said i could use paypal, credit, or my checking account. I called him out . If ur over sea does the numberhave a +. I searched his number it came up in sun valley texas. His name he goes by is sherman venner

  2. Hi

    I have been talking to a guy, who claims he is a US Marines Brigadier General Doug Anderson, working out in Afghanistan. I have tried looking him up on various sites, but can find nothing on him. When I told him that I couldn’t find anything he said he was on a mission, and details on him won’t be released until he returns to the US on 15th December. |He has asked me for money, but have managed to get out of it. Is there any sites that I can use to check if he really exists?

    • Margaret Rodgers says:

      Jill – In response to your post concerning General Doug Anderson. Searching the internet I found the following: Brigadier General is a one star general officer with a pay grade of 0-7. He ranks above a Colonel and below a Major General. I also found as follows: In the US Marine Corp. – General is a four star general officer rank with a pay grade of 0-10. Listed salary for this position is $7.919.10 a month !!! Now, I don’t think this person (scammer) is being truthful with you Jill.

      • Margaret – message from Jill.. Many thanks for your email. if he was earning the sort of money you say, then he wouldn’t want £300.0 from me. Your site has been invaluable. Once again. Many thanks

        Cheers,
        Ros

  3. Patricia says:

    After reading this, I feel very fortunate. I did meet an officer online. Yes. I did get pictures etc. However, he emailed me his APO from his mil email, and I have his military cell number etc. He has never asked for money etc. I ran the number, and it’s military owned. Nobody in the family has passed away etc etc. Heck. He makes better than I do, and I make good money. I would never encourage any military personnel to give out their Social Security number ever. I do encourage people to play detective. If the person is sincerely legitimate, they won’t mind. They may even go out of their way to prove who they are to you. I do believe that emailing his APO from his mil email address helped me. I mailed a card to him, and he sent a picture holding it back to me in uniform. Don’t get me wrong with my back ground, I investigated him. I guess I just got lucky.

  4. This guy takes the cake as he thinks that we will not look him up and his name is Stephen J Daly and he claims that he is a LtCol in the USA he is not but a big scam artist you have been warned

  5. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO EVERYONE – I posted awhile back about staying away from Badoo and Netlog. I am posting again. These two sites are extremely infested with scammers. Every Military person who contacted me from these sites turned out to be a scammer. Not one real soldier. Please read the past posts on this site. You will be educated.

  6. ik ben benaderd door een Frankie Jone via een dating site badoo. hij wilde gelijk met mij chatten en zei steeds hello babe. hij had eerst op zijn profiel een mooie blonde jongen 31 jaar oud. hij is een militaire gestationeerd in Afghanistan kabul.
    hij hield gelijk van mij en vond me mooi etc. had zijn profiel veranderd in verloofd en ik kreeg papieren opgestuurd via de email ik moest zeggen dat we getrouwd waren en dat ik heimwee had. ik kraag argwaan en gezegd dat doe ik niet. hij wilde graag naar Nederland komen maar had niet genoeg geld en of ik hem geld wilde sturen . hij vraagt nu regelmatig of het gaat lukken en zeker nu ik dit lees ben ik zeer bang dat hij oplichter is. ik heb het gevoel dat hij stiekem contact met mijn zus.
    kent iemand deze naam? zo ja wat is jullie ervaring?

    • Margaret Rodgers says:

      Cajh – I was able to translate your post. I suspect he is a scammer.In fact I would bet on it. They will ask you for money. His sending you papers to sign is his way of trying to get a copy of your signature which they will use illegally for some kind of scam . NEVER sign anything for them so they have your signature. No one does engagements by mail or gets married through the mail service either. I seriously would block him. He seems dangerous to me.

    • Susanne Petry says:

      Hello,
      I translated your comment via Google translator as I do not understand Dutch. I hope you speak English, or I can also write this in German.

      Names and photos are not reliable, it is all a FAKE. Only the facts count!
      And the facts say he only wants one thing from you: Money!

      PLEASE DO NOT – IN NO CASE – SEND ANY MONEY TO HIM!

      He wants you to say that you are married? NO WAY! A mail is no proof of marriage, soldiers must know that!

      And believe me, the soldiers are not as poor as he wants to make you believe. If he really wanted to be with you, HE’LL FIND A WAY, WITHOUT YOU SENDING MONEY.

      Just forget him, stay strong and don’t answer any more mails. It’s just a scam!
      Sorry to say this, but you’re lucky to have a good “gut feeling” and have found this web page here.

      Susanne

  7. MSG Robert McLaughlin says:

    Mike,
    Yes giving out your SSAN is not a good idea, no one is asking that. My CAC card has my social on it, all 9 numbers. Dumb! I have had that on all my Army ID cards since 1980. And anyone who looks at your card can see it. Dumber! Not my idea. Ladies if I give you my social you will be hard pressed to find me with it unless you have connections. Giving you my name and address is a lot easier of course.

    And second, yes ,mil mail is for military business but it;s not exactly a smil.mil address. When deployed I had family send me emails on .mil because at times that is all that was available. NIPRnet can block whatever they want and yahoo is one of the first things to go. I was happy to use .mil to stay in touch with family and friends and I encourage others to do the same. Heck you read the news right? All the .com email accounts out there are sniffed by the NSA anyway. I can’t vouch for the .mil accounts, I am sure the 6 shop watches over those, but ut is the easiest way to show someone that we are indeed military. I have pics of me in uniform and all sorts of stories but anyone can retell those. Ask my GT score, MOS, DOR, SQI, ASI, and really soon we can ferret out the fakes.

    And ladies if you ask questions like that to guys and they get mad at you for asking, and they try to make you feel guilty for questioning them, they are fakes. I will toss out replies as fast as you can read off those acronyms to me.

    Heck try something really easy like asking their shoe size. They use European sizes. If you ask me I’ll say 13M right off the bat but a Nigerian will use an excuse to justify why they only go by European sizes. Remember, there is no reason we should flich if wehave nothing to hide!

    • Helen Tsaousidis says:

      Oh thank you I will try this and will let u know Robert I feel so stupid three years been talking to this marine
      Captain John A Casper..

      I have fallen hard for this person at 52 I thought I found love gosh I feel so bad

      But at least I will have some answers
      Now thanks to you!

  8. Margaret Rodgers says:

    To Susanne – my original scammer I found on Facebook with about 3 or 4 different accounts posted up, using a variation of the real soldier’s name. Hahaha—i introduced them to each other. I’m still laughing.

  9. Margaret Rodgers says:

    For Michael D. Martin, TSgt. USAF – I read your post with much interest. The women contacted out there as I understand it do not usually ask for social security numbers, for the same obvious reasons you pointed out. It also is not one of the standard questions we have been advised to ask. I won’t give the reason for asking for the dot mil email but we have a reason. I would be interested in seeing if our MSG Robert McLaughlin has a comment for you. Thank you for your imput.

  10. This person by the name of Chris David, Christian belet, Christian Brian belet. Is going around scamming sick women out of their money. Promise of marriage and a happy life together. I was one of them and just found out there where others. I don’t know how these people get their pictures, but he or she is giving his pictures to these women. He’ll claim that he has a son by the name of Brian, or a daughter. He’ll use a mother name by the name of jenni Williams and tell you she is sick or her and his son was in a car accident. Or claim that his daughter is sick and that they need money. I know the soldier name is belet cause it on his uniform. But don’t know his first name. I would really like to warn him about what going on with his pictures. Cause when he get out of the army he might run across a lot of angry people. And he Dnt do anything. This person in niagira. Please stop him before he get to someone else that is sick and take all their life saving. If you want picture of him I have them to send. Thank you

  11. As an 11 year veteran of the USAF, I have a problem with two of your points. I would like to start by saying I am not trying to trash your article or anything. I appreciate your efforts and you make some great points. It’s sad that there are scammers out there who would take advantage of people who are just trying to look for a partner, but we all know they are lower life-forms. To my issues. First, your .mil email address is for official use only so you should not be giving that address out to prospective dates. Do some military members use their work email for personal use sometimes (they’re doing so at their own peril)? Yes, but if a military member says they don’t want to give out their work email, it may just be for the sole reason that they do not want to violate the governing instruction. I don’t know the specific instruction, but if anybody wants it, I can do some research and find it. I am an active duty Airman and I have a Yahoo account that I use for all of my personal business.

    Second, and this one is even more critical than the first, social security numbers are sensitive information. Two words; identity theft. Your social is used to open bank accounts, apply for loans, get credit cards and many other things. Yes, you need other personal information to do this, but it’s all easily obtained in our technologically advanced world. Giving your social out to someone online gives them a pretty big piece of information that is otherwise difficult to obtain. I use financial examples because that is what can seriously ruin your life if somebody steals your identity. There’s a reason why theft of large amounts personal data always makes the news because it’s a big deal when a thief has thousands of social security numbers that they can sell. I would never give my social to somebody I’ve met online and been communicating with over email. In fact, we receive annual training on protecting personal information. A social is not classified, but it is PII (personally-identifiable information) which is protected under the Privacy Act of 1974. POW status and online dating are two completely different things. Again, I’m not trying to bash this article or anything. I just felt like I should point out some issues I have with it. If somebody refuses to give you information as I have mentioned above, it may just be that they are protecting themselves. They just met you online and there is not enough trust to disclose certain bits of information. Scams work both ways. Trust me, members of the military are just as vulnerable to scams as anyone else. Even more so in some cases. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.. Thank you, and good luck to everyone out there searching for love. I’m in that boat myself.

    Michael D. Martin, TSgt, USAF

    • I’ve met someone online. And honestly I would love to know if he is truly in the military. He seems like a great guy but there are scams! How would you suggest finding out if someone is truly in the military vs. being a scam.

      • Allyson says:

        I would love to know that also because I have met someone who seems really nice but am afraid.

      • Karon Cunningham says:

        I met someone too on a dating site name Terry Austin, claim he is in the US Army as a captain. He has sent several pictures of himself. When I asked him to take a picture with a sign in his hand with my name on it and date. He did it the very next day, however, my son says that the picture is real but the sign in his hand with my name on it is fake. Where do I go to find out if this has been photo shop. He has not ask for any money yet. However, is professing his dying love. I did ask for APO address and he said that his location in Kabul Afghanistan is confidential, that he patrol different villages?

    • It is pretty sad that you cannot even find a military guy to corresponded to, without thinking 95% of your responses are going to be a scam. Although, I do feel anyone in this day & age who gives their social, or sends $, almost deserves it. Just dumb. Anyway, you gave a lot of info. Which was nice. I on the other hand, will be fine with out a pen pal. Sad, but, much safer. Be safe & take care. K.

  12. Susanne says:

    Margaret, you’re right. They’re all over the world.
    Two days ago, I reported the fake profile of mike_j7711 to Friendscout24, who is also using a picture of “my” scammer, and they deleted him and will deny further entries… but they’ll surely find other ways…
    AND I found at least two guys using the same pictures on Facebook. I almost wanted to make a new account and get them all together on my page… wouldn’t THAT be fun?? But, no, I won’t do this!! (although I had to fight with myself in the first place)

    And I believe it’s true that they pass “profiles” of women around – I feel like being contacted by scammers over and over and over again. When I start reading the badly translated German sentences, I start getting the creeps… some of them are using pictures I have not seen before, but to me it all sounds so much the same… I am getting tired of that.

  13. Margaret Rodgers says:

    Also Susanne – they are all over the World. Lots of them in the scamming syndicate. I recently had one who claimed his home country was Turkey but he was working at the moment in Germany.I didn’t give him much of a chance to ask for anything. I had another who claimed to be from Egypt but was going to school in China. Kept dropping hints he had no money. I told him he should go home then. I deleted them.

  14. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO HEATHER; Too bad you sent that much money. You only enable them to scam other women or fund terrorism when you do that. They would have just kept upping the amount on you to see how much they could get from you. Starts out at 2,000, they get that, so they up it to 5,000 and wait, and get that from you , so they think “oh what the hell”, lets see if she’s game for a whole lot more ? Really Heather have you read nothing on this site ???

  15. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO SUSANNE; HA !! I found about six on Facebook using my original scammers picture only with different email ID’s. Many on Romancescam.com with same picture also. The real soldier’s name is Drawoh Mateo. You can trace their emails, just don’t send them any personal info on yourself or any money. Sending them money only helps them to scam other women.

  16. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO SUSANNE; The last two ip numbers that show Ghana are the same except for the last two digits…one being 89 and one being 84. My guess they are coming from computers very close together like in a Internet Cafe or room where many computers are set up.

  17. Funniest thing: Last night, I was contacted by a Willam Bosch on the German page of Friendscout24. He had no photo, and asked for my mail address. Today, I got his mail, with the same pictures as of Brian James.
    Tracked him down again:
    w_bosch@yahoo.de
    X-Originating-IP: [77.238.189.195] = IRELAND
    Received: from 127.0.0.1= Local loopback address, no country associated
    Received: from [77.238.189.53] = IRELAND
    Received: from [212.82.98.75] = UNITED KINGDOM
    Received: from [127.0.0.1] = Local loopback address, no country associated
    Received: from [5.56.23.234] = GERMANY
    What a big surprise that one – in my own home country!!!

    There were another two guys – with different photos – who wanted to contact me, but I denied their request… on the other hand, I would have liked to track them down again… but I’m sure their fakes, and scammers, too!

  18. This week, I was also contacted by a John Morrison, similar story to the other one, but different photo, which I have not found on google again…
    Mail address: john_morrison88@yahoo.com
    X-Originating-IP: [67.195.87.182] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [216.39.60.180] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [98.137.12.203] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [127.0.0.1] = Local loopback address, no country associated
    Received: from [41.66.226.41] = GHANA

  19. I just wanted to add the mail address and IP addresses stated in the header:
    jamesbrian132@yahoo.com
    X-Originating-IP: [72.30.239.145] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [98.139.212.146] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [98.139.212.237] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [127.0.0.1] = Local loopback address, no country associated
    Received: from [197.220.160.89] = GHANA

    In a different mail, it’s different IPs:
    X-Originating-IP: [72.30.238.200] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [98.139.215.140] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [98.139.212.216] = UNITED STATES
    Received: from [127.0.0.1] = Local loopback address, no country associated
    Received: from [197.220.160.84] = GHANA

  20. Margaret Rodgers says:

    For Everyone: Reporting two more scammer names being used with stolen pic’s of Drawoh Vergara Mateo. Drawoh Vergara Mateo is the real name of the soldier. You can google to Romancescam.com and see his pictures. Many scammers are using these pic.s. Two of the Names are Lee Morgan and James Mateo but there is a list of many names being used, that is being reported on that web site. If any one is being sent these pictures, it is a scam.

  21. Margaret Rodgers says:

    To Susanne: Yes many of these scammers are located in Ghana,. If you did an averaging, it would show up Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Malaysia, or Asian countries, some Russian, and believe it or not UK. I’m sure there are other countries but in my experience I found these countries the most. When I trace an ip number I pick the last “receiving from” at the bottom of the header information. Your right, never give them personal information. They have disastrous things they can do to you. I have been told of this scamming syndicate that most are involved in, so that is one reason why you find them coming from all over the world. Also I have been told most likely they are tied to terrorists also, so you would never want to receive an envelope or box from them. You could encounter explosives and or poison plus you don’t want them to know where you live for obvious reasons. The best thing to do is when you suspect or know they are scammers, just get rid of them.

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