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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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  1. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO SHAWN – DELETE AND BLOCK. SCAMMER. The Air Force does not mess up on retirement papers !!!

  2. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO KATHERINE – Ask caringjames for his .mil address. His APO address is very incomplete. I bet if you mail something to what has been provided, it would be returned to you. i STRONGLY feel this is a scammer.

  3. Margaret Rodgers says:


  4. Margaret Rodgers says:


  5. MSG Robert McLaughlin says:

    Go to
    Search for the domain name, in this case
    When it says the domain is taken, click the WHIS button under the text.
    You will see the woner there.

    Or, just go to the site, it is all spam, click anywhere and it is spam.

    Only .MIL or .GOV is real!!!!

    Marisa, if he was on a secret mission he could not tell you!

  6. Hello,
    I have being talking with MSG Michael Lawson for a couple of months. He is supposed to be retiring in 2 months from the marines. He is a widow and has a son. We have being talking in yahoo. He gave me a mil address and claims that is suspended at the moment and to use another email that ends with He never asked me for anything until recently. He wants me to open an account in Navy Federal. I told him that I cant because Im not in the military or a relative. He told me to call costumer service and ask. He told me to tell them we are engaged. To me all of this sounds very suspicious. He had send me some pictures and even a blog. When we first started talking he was in Afganistan and now he is in a secret mission in Nigeria. I really will appreciate if you can let me know if this is a scam. Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.

  7. I have to say thanks for all the above information on the How To Avoid Military Dating Scams……I have had more fun busting the scammers before they hit…LOL
    I can’t thank you enough…….God Bless You All………

  8. Hi i joined a dating site and a guy calling himself caringjames2012 liked my profile we chated on line he told me his name was Colonel James Miller and that he on deployment in Kabul Afghanistan at Camp Phoenix, APO, AE 09348. is this person real or a scam he sent me 4 pictures of him

  9. Margaret Rodgers says:

    TO ALL – They have discovered how to use Skype now. I have had two now come on Skype using a fake video on the cam. So this can no longer be trusted viewing anymore.

  10. Margaret Rodgers says:

    To Rebecca – It is a scam. This opening an account for them so they can deposit money is the latest they are trying. Never open an account in your name and accept money into it from anyone you have met on the Internet. You do not know where this money has come from. You could get yourself into some REAL trouble legally. I have had FOUR just this week trying to get me to do this account opening bull crap, using a ton of made up reasons why they need me to do this –puke, puke. Anyway its the latest thing they are trying. Just get them off your contact and delete. They are wasting your time.

  11. The person impersonating US Army Brigadier General Herbert Raymond McMaster is still at it on Skype and still has Face Book accounts. Last night I was contacted by him through Skype. He stated he was in Kabul Afghanistan as Director of International Security Assistance Forces Headquartwers. He also gave his age as 58. He also stated he was a widower. He also stated he is a Christian. His home is supposedly in Tempa Florida. There is a Tampa Florida but not Tempa. He was supposedly coming home to Florida on vacation next week. He seemed like such a nice guy even using his web cam (he asked me to use mine but I didn’t). He even had his two boys named Eric and Paul (phony names I’m sure) say hi to me while on the webcam. He went offline momentarily and then came back stating his web cam froze. He gave an email address of We chatted for quite a while on skype and alarm bells went off for me. After getting off Skype I ran a search on him to find that the real person is 50 and still married etc. I deleted the guy from my contact list and blocked him. I also messaged Skype to let them know about his fraudulant use of Skype but I fear nothing will be done about it. Thankfully I had the intuition to check him out to make sure. He shouldn’t have been able to view my profile as it is listed as private and there is nothing on it but my name. I have my settings as private with no contacts, light bulb moment, so they can break through the Skype settings to contact people. Fortunately I copied and pasted the info I found on him as a scammer onto the Skype conversation thread and asked, “Are you aware of this?” he had disappeared by the time I got on the computer this morning. This man really knows how to play a woman but he wasn’t able to play me long enough to ask for any money to help him to get home for his vacation. I just feel bad for the real person and what it could do to his reputation as a fine stand up military man. Thanks for warning women about these scammers.

  12. Hi just wanted to get some advise on the following scensrio for 1 of my friends who met this Sgt Julian Madougall in Tagged dating site. She told that after couple of months of he told her that he would come and visit her. She thought k, the thing was he then told her he had found gold in one of the mines in Lybia. Now he went through UK customs where they detained him because he had not declared the gold. I found this very strange and advised her to be careful. Now developments are that she needs to set up an account coz according to him he has sold the gold. I think she needs to stop chatting with him coz he sounds like a scammer. How can she know for sure. She has mentioned him many times- his name Sgt Julian Madougall. Please i want to help her. Please email me asap when you get this email coz i do not want her to send him any money. Thanks so much

  13. Margaret Rodgers says:

    For Shawn: Please delete him from your contacts and then block him in your computer. It is all BS. He is a scammer.

  14. Margaret Rodgers says:

    For All : I am reporting a new scammer i have had contact with just up to a few moments ago. He said his first name is Allen. Using the email of Said his full name is Allen Paul Grave. Claims to buy and sell real estate and is some kind of contractor. Stated has home in Torrance California and is at the moment doing some business in London. He asked me if he could put money on my credit card and use it and or did I have a bank account that had a zero balance in it he could use. Oh Mercy Me !! I laughed and said geez you gotta be joking !! I smelled a scam big time…..ladies I couldn’t delete and block fast enough !! Oh and of course before he asked for those things, during the last month he had fallen madly in love with me. He was on

  15. mariette says:

    2 days ago I was contacted by a man named Bradley Adnold (Yes: aDnold) same story… widower, wife died in caraccident 3 years ago, 1 son…. bla bla bla.. works in US military in Yep: Afghanistan….. and YES will retire in 2 month! Bad English, asked for .mil… and guess what? I got 2 gmail-addresses! Bye Bye!!! This probably was a scammer who was new to the game…. But okay: he uses the gmailaccounts: or

  16. Met him 7/5/2012 as Captain Gilbert Thomas of Air Force originally from germany, wife died 1 year ago. Says hes ready to retire but AF did not send him papers while in states “now in Kabul” and wants me to set up account for him. I told him I cant do that and thought he would dissappear but he is still IMing me..what should I do? This is such a horrible thing they are doing to women and the men they are impersonating

  17. Caution everyone about BRUNO DOLF. Scammed my friend. Spent 6 months wooing her with stories about how is is a German Naval Ships Captain, based in Hamburg, Germany. Claims to have property in Malaysia worth $2 million and also in Germany. claims to have a daughter studying medicine in Malaysia too. Said he had made her the sole beneficary of his will, becasue his mum is too old and his daughter too young! Was supposedly meeting my friends in KL in a few weeks then coming to Australia to be with her for 5 weeks. Wanted her to find a house for him to buy for them to live in together. Then Tuesday in the middle of the night she got a phone call from someone claiming to be a doctor that he had been in a car accident, and a few hours later, one more to say he had died. Emails from “doctor” via a HOTMAIL account. Phone calls from his “lawyer” gave a YAHOO account. His Facebook account is still active, though he told my friend he had to shut it down a few weeks ago because it had been hacked. WARN everyone to stay away.

  18. Margaret Rodgers says:

    Katie – yes he seems to be under delusions – admits to being people he is not, except admitting to what he really is —-a scammer.

  19. Margaret Rodgers says:

    for liliana : There was a scammer using the last name Witt, a while back, only used the first name Christian and Christopher. He got caught by myself and another lady by using those first names. May be the same scammer. The requests you received is a common one used by the scammers. The real Military does not use or need anything from civilians. Read the posts on this website. Mine are from true experiences over the last year and a half.
    I also would like to announce I was able to get my original scammer walter bruston removed from the dating site Now on for more demolition !!

  20. Katie Burl says:

    Thank you so much! My gut was telling me something was wrong! It’s just awful that people do things like this. I broke it off with him last night (texting of course). What did it in for me is he sent me a picture that he went hiking yesterday. I found it interesting cause supposedly he was in this intense 2 week Marine FORECON training and yet he’s out hiking during the day. Just thought it weird. I don’t get why this happened, but his name is Brandon Michael delMastro on Supposedly he is a Major in the Airforce and a 1st LT in the Marines (which I thought impossible, don’t you have to be the same rank across the board?). I hope no other woman falls prey to this

  21. MSG Robert McLaughlin says:


    You can be from CT and be stationed in SC. I am from CA and have been in half the country at times. I can also understand not wanting to have a video go to my .mil email address. If it is risque I may get in trouble so of course I will have a private address for you! But my roommates? NEVER! He is simply fishing for leads and then he hands you off to the next level of scammers.

    Training troops is not a classified job. If it was, well then he just violated protocol by telling you that. I have had positions where my work is classified but now what? When I go home I get on Skype, email, and whatever, and if anyone asks me about my work I just say I am in the Army, and basic details. I can tell you plenty of fun stories without telling national secrets. And the fact that he is in the USA there is NO ISSUE with getting online when off duty!

    Yep, he is a scammer, he wants you to say “Ooooooh I am so impressed!” and then he can lay the groundwork for asking for money or stuff.

  22. Katie Burl says:

    I’m currently talking to someone I met on a dating website. On his profile it stated that he was from CT and then he proceeded to tell me he is in SC training soldiers. He explained to me that he is in the Marines and trains cadets for a program (can’t remember the name of it, I think it begins with an A?). He said he would be home in a couple weeks and he retires in August of this year. He seemed pretty normal until I asked for his email address (I was going to send him a short video introducing myself). He did, however, give me his roommate’s gmail address. I thought it was weird that he is not allowed to have email but his “roommate” is? Then he went on to tell me he is not allowed to have email, facebook, or even Skype because of the “classified” job he has. My question is, is there any unit in the Marines that trains cadets that is so classified he is not supposed to use email, facebook, or Skype? It’s really sad that people do these kinds of things and you can’t trust anyone. The sad thing is I was really starting to like him and looking forward to him coming home. Now I have so much doubt, I’m thinking of just not talking to him anymore. At least he hasn’t asked for money or professed any kind of love yet lol!

  23. Mariette says:

    I was able to get 4 of the 5 facebookaccounts closed on Herbert Raymond McMaster. There still is one up, as I’m writing this (thank God, only 1 “friend” there, and I warned her in a private mail). The facebook account were he had 16 friends, was closed! I tried to warn each “friend” on there as well, but somehow, they didn’t respond. They (some of them had 400 + friends from all over the USA, so their profiles probably were real) probably didn’t believe me, when I told them this guy wasn’t the real deal, but a scammer.

    So Shield your friendslist!!!! If you happen to add a scammer, don’t let him/her get acces to your friendslist!!! (although they may be able to target the friends that respond to a post you put online) Put a warning on your facebookaccount, to warn your friends about these scams!!! The more people we get informed, the best we can limit ways of finding new targets for the scammers!

    It took Facebook 2 weeks to get these profiles closed. So no telling if the scammer was able to target any of the 16 persons he got friends with! I did all I could to warn them!

    Skype is a whole different story: the scammers have 22 !!! fake profiles over there! Any shape or form to spell the name Herbert Raymond McMaster. 2 have internetphoto’s that show the real Major General, the rest of them show poor language in their descriptions! I’m trying to get those profiles closed as well, but sofar Skype hasn’t responded to the one I reported 2 weeks ago!

    I’m putting a communique together to send to local and national TV-stations, to have them air this problem! Sofar another friend of mine had been targeted. HE was sent a leave-form, to fill out. No moneyasking!

  24. MSG Robert McLaughlin says:

    If the scammer uses a soldier there is nothing anyone can do, the scanner is usually outside the USA where our laws have no impact.

  25. liliana says:

    Hi Robert, have been chatting with a Sgt David Austin Witt for about 3 months he is suppose to be posted in Afghanistan when he popped up on my facebook he was looking for a friend and came across my photo and that’s how he found me. Not long afterwards he wanted to chat on the phone but wanted me to pay for the phone calls I said I’m a single mum I don’t have that sort of money .
    We stilled chatted for a while longer until he wanted to come and see me he put his leave documents in was short of $500.00 and wanted me to sent him the money through Western Union, it was to be sent to an Alex Martin…..Army Barracks Road…… Nigeria. I haven’t sent any money and won’t.
    Is there anyway this soldier can get informed that his picture and info is being used in this manner.
    I’m so glad I have come across your article , thank you for you advice.

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