The Reason We Don’t Share Pictures of Soldiers Used in Scams

reason not to share real soldiers pictures online

When most people reach out to me about possibly being involved in a military romance scam, they ask about sending me pictures to tell them if the soldier is real.

The answer from me is always the same. Yes, send me any pictures that you can. This can help to identify who the real soldier is. But in no way is this the person you have been communicating with all this time.

Where They Get Pictures of Soldiers

This is one place in particular where social media has been disastrous. Many, many people have their social media profiles set to public.

Even if they have it marked as private, their profile picture is generally still public.

If you’re one of those who change out their profile picture often, you could have multiple images set for public access even within a private profile simply because it used to be the profile picture.

A quick Google image search can reveal the pictures of thousands upon thousands of soldiers.

Within those pictures is the link to where the photo is from, and generally, it’s from their social media profiles, news articles, or, in some cases, the military itself.

It’s effortless to download the pictures and assume the identity of the person within that picture.

When you meet someone online, and they share photos, especially if it’s multiple, you have no reason to believe it’s not that person.

How the Scams Have Changed Over Time

In the very beginning, when people were reaching out to me in the early 2000s about these scams, the pictures used were not soldiers. It would sometimes be who I assume is the scammer himself.

He would have on what appeared to be a military uniform and posing in different scenarios. To a civilian without any military knowledge, the pictures would appear to be legitimate.

For the person with military knowledge, one look at the picture and you knew something was wrong.

There would be things such as U.S. Army badges on an Air Force uniform. They would be wearing the uniform of one branch and the unit insignia of another branch.

It was undeniable in one glance that it was more of someone attempting to play dress-up than it was an actual soldier.

As social media grew in popularity, it slowly changed over to using pictures of real soldiers.

As I described, they would find public social media profiles and download multiple images to be used to create their story and new identity online.

Why I Don’t Post the Pictures Online

I do my best to prevent these soldier’s pictures from being posted online, whether it’s through the website or social media channels.

This infuriates many, as they want him vilified on a public stage for scamming them.

The truth is, the soldier in the pictures is as much of a victim as the person who has their money stolen. He is not a part of the scam and has no idea his pictures are being used in that manner.

The victim is often adamant that they are going to make sure this person pays. And I get it.

If someone managed to swindle me out of thousands of dollars, I would want my revenge as well.

But the person in the pictures isn’t who did it.

While their pictures may be used repeatedly in scams with different people, I don’t post them online because the person in the picture is innocent.

Send me pictures of the actual scammer, and I will gladly blast those out to every possible channel that I have.

But until that happens, I won’t destroy the life of a true soldier who just happened to have his pictures stolen to be used in this way.

Why You Shouldn’t Post the Pictures Either

In that same vein, I’m asking you not to blast out the pictures of the real soldier as the person who scammed you in some way.

I’ve seen this happen too many times when a completely innocent person who is oblivious to the situation is then put in the position to defend himself against people who are now doing their best to make the scammer pay.

In some cases, the soldier’s chain of command was contacted, and they have had to go through formal investigations for something they do not know of.

It’s incredibly unfair these scammers are out there parting honest and trusting people of their hard-earned money.

It’s more unfair a soldier honorably serving his country, with no knowledge of the scam, is also being publicly victimized.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

Have you been the victim of a scam? Please share your story below or join us on our social media channels.

reason not to share real soldiers pictures online

21 thoughts on “The Reason We Don’t Share Pictures of Soldiers Used in Scams”

  1. I had been talking to this Air Force guy for about a week a half now. So call Air Force guy. He told me he had served in the Air Force for 20 years. He told me he was getting out next month on the 18th. He said he got his pay and he needs some one to keep it for him until he comes back to the States he wanted my full name address and telephone number and email. It really freaked me out He set the picture of the money in a box. He wanted me to hold it for him until he gets out and he told me he was going to give me his account number though Chase bank to deposit for him. He claims his whole family is dead, except for his nine-year-old boy what’s in the UK boarding School. This sounds like a totally totally scam scam. I thought Air Force soldiers get paid by check & if he is coming out on the 18th why they don’t release the money then! He wanted my full name address and phone number and email. At the registration to have the money sent to me on my doorstep,?

  2. Being scammed as we speak. The red flags went up. Pretty much everything you said is true to my situation. Mad because I fell for it. Never heard of military scams like this. Always learning, aren’t we. The money help came up. I’m thinking, nope, not stupid here. I have this picture. I would like to know if this person is really John Michael Scott or if he is under another name. Just curious. Also does he realize he is being used in a scam. How can I send it to you?
    Thank you. Pam

  3. Hello
    Please help me these guys seem so legit it’s ridiculous! Can you let me know how I can find out if there is an Army Soldier special Ops named ——Martin Josh Gonzalez ——he was in Afghanistan for peace keeping now has traveled to Istanbul, Turkey to finish his training to retire & he’s also training soldiers there ??‍♀️ He has sent me a check for me to bank wire to him in turkey my bank is investing all this as they feel it’s a scam cause they have come across lots of scams military people sending checks from their so called boss in the states & wanting women to cash the checks (which my bank waited 7bd’s for the check to clear which it has) but they feel this because the lady who sent me the check isn’t his boss it’s another women who is being scammed but everything he tells me seems to be correct but as I’m reading about what the scammers say like they love you & wanna marry you which happened after a few months I’ve been speaking to him which I’m the one who found him & messaged him on dating site so I need to know if Martin Josh Gonzalez is real or a scammer I have pics of him & videos I’ve looked them up via google images but nothing out of the ordinary came up with pics & videos so I’m not too sure how, it this is a scammer he’s getting these ??‍♀️
    Also I’ve been talking to another guy —-Dr. Chris Conley —-he’s on a contract in Kabul, Afghanistan with the military camp there he talks like a Doctor & I have pics of him & same thing happened with him as I’ve been talking to him after few months he says he loves me & wants me to be his wife ??‍♀️ Help me please ?? I have more information on these men if you need more info please let me know ?? Thanking you in advance for your help

    1. For either of them, the best way to find out is to ask for their military email address. For the one that sent you a check that you believe is from another victim – it sounds like they are using you as a middle person to help launder money.

  4. Hello,

    I want to ASK you to help me.
    I recently have contact with a man saying that he is a soldier deployed to Somalia.
    I have heard so many stories. And would like to know if i have contact with a scammer or a real one. I have pictures aswell

  5. Hello,
    I am French (please excuse me if my English is not very good). I was a victim of a scammer this year although I am not really young. He said to be an american soldier based in Afghanistan. I was happy because in my region we feel very close of USA and its citizen and especially of american soldiers, for all what they do for their country but also for the world. But I realized too late what he was ! I sent him money, 5 thousands dollars. He wanted more, but happily I didn’t want. He insisted and told me to ask loan to my bank or to relatives, I refused. He sent me 2 pictures of an american soldier in uniform, and 2 civil pictures with “his” daughter. I would like to send you the pictures, if you can search if this soldier really exists. How can I do ?
    I have contacted the Police, but as it comes from a foreign country, they can’t do anything.
    Thank you for all what you do, your work is wonderful. I would like to help you.

  6. Abigail Hernandez

    Hello , I have been talking to a guy who said he is a sergeant in the army. We talked on fb messenger but then he said it was safer to talk on hangout app , which is, he said hes name is Anthony scott , he sent me pics of him and him and his kids , he said he has a nanny who takes care of h iui s kids whole hes over seas but has not asked for money but did say something off and I just feel it’s a lie , how do I send you a picture of him to see if hes Anthony scott or using this guys pics …. I have asked for his military email but awaiting his response ….

  7. I think I might have done this twice sorry I have been talking to a soldier since april he sent me friend request on IG after spending time talking he asked if i would go on hang outs he has not asked for money we talk for hours he says hes serving in syria I dont have any bad feeling about this but just lost my mum so pretty much all over the place I hate to thinknots real and he thinks I’m doubting him his name is james young pls help

  8. Hi my name is Nancy. I’ve been talking to this guy claiming to be a SSG in the Army. He is stationed in Syria . He has sent pictures of himself but the clothes he’s wearing aren’t army uniforms. One picture he’s wearing a US Marines jacket. Other pictures he’s wearing jeans , also wearing a black helmet. He’s asked me for $900. because he ran out of food. He has claimed he lost his wife and parents, daughter was with his deceased wife’s parents. He claims he can’t video chat because commander restricted their phones cause enemies can track them. Can’t texting be tracked. He has provided his military email and ID but something doesn’t seem right. He claims he’s from Georgia. He sent a voicemail but he Sounds like he has a British accent. Please tell me what you think…

  9. I have been in communication with a person by the name of David S Smith. He’s claims to be in the army in Ghana, Africa. We have been texting for over 2 years. When I first met him he claimed to be in Baghdad. I have seen many pictures but don’t know if they may be fake or not. He claims to have a house in Saint Paul, minnesota, and it is currently being taken care of my the army while he is deployed. He says that the Army rents it out and does all of the maintenance on it, until he returns. But he will not give me the address, (so I can verify this). He also says he doesn’t have access to any of his money because the Army doesn’t pay them when they are deployed overseas, but they will get all of it when they return, in back pay. He says he was originally from New Orleans. I want to believe what he is saying, but not sure. I have spent him money and I have received money from another person in the US to forward to him for his commander. The money we send is going to a Bright Elliott Vigbedor. When I asked why is it going to this person he replies that the person getting the money has to have a ID issued by the government of the county. My gut says it’s a big scam. Please let me know if he may be on your list or have heard anything about this person. Thanks

  10. I don’t know if this a new one on you or not, but here goes.
    I was sent a private message on a gay dating website from a man claiming to be on a peace keeping mission in Afghanistan.
    He was raised by his uncle because his father died from a disease(he never said which) and his mother was killed in a car accident. He said he isn’t close with any of his relatives.
    He wanted pictures of my sister, my car and my dog(all of which he didn’t get).
    After one week it seems, he is madly in love with me.
    He lost his phone when he was ambushed while on patrol and asked if I would send him a prepaid VISA gift card .
    He was promptly blocked.
    I have a picture I can send, if you want.

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