You are talking with who you believe is a soldier online. Things seem to be going well. He seems to be falling fast, and, in return, you are as well.
But something doesn’t quite seem right.
Sometimes that can be the language they use from a grammatical perspective where it seems like English may not be their first language.
Sometimes it can be what they’re asking you to do for them or send to them that involves you either buying things or sending money.
And sometimes, it can be the sheer amount of bad luck this one person seems to have encountered in their life.
The Stories Are Dramatic
The scammer will try to establish an emotional connection and gain your sympathy by telling some sad sob stories along the way.
These generally are around things like his wife was killed in a car accident or died after an extended illness.
Or his parents died when he was young, and he grew up as an orphan with no actual adult figures in his life.
Or a tragic accident has happened to his children.
In a handful of cases, I’ve seen where they have combined all of these stories to create the saddest life possible.
While any of these situations could happen, there is an overwhelming number of scammers using these stories as their go-to.
The sob story often forms with the plot they need to devise to make it believable why they need you to send financial assistance.
For instance, I can’t tell you how many people have reached out to me about the scammer having lost his wife to some tragic circumstance.
Now, his child is in boarding school (usually in Europe) while he is deployed.
There’s a medical issue, and he can’t access his bank account.
Can’t you please help him to save his child’s life?
Many times, when the victim contacts me, they already sent money to the scammer.
They reasoned they are helping a poor defenseless child who has already lost their mother.
In some cases, the scammer has even employed others’ help to make the scam seem more believable.
They may have someone else appear to reach out via email with additional information on the situation.
Or they will have someone actually call to express how dire the situation is.
Here’s the real deal.
A Soldier’s Paycheck
Minus a government shutdown, soldiers are getting their paychecks.
First, soldiers are always paid while they are on duty.
In fact, while they are deployed, they are paid more with additional allowances they receive only while deployed.
Plus, certain parts of their pay are no longer taxable, resulting in an even larger paycheck.
In addition to that, single soldiers generally don’t have to maintain a home in the states while deployed (they either live in the barracks or break the lease on their rental property when they deploy).
So, in addition to an increase in income, there are no expenses associated with it.
Second, military families aren’t often sending their kids off to boarding school, and certainly not in Europe.
And especially in this type of situation.
So the child has supposedly lost their mother in some tragic accident, and the dad decides to send them off to a foreign country to attend boarding school? Are you kidding me?
Third, military dependents (the soldier, spouse, and children) are covered by Tricare medical insurance.
This is amazing medical insurance with no deductible and very low co-pays.
To give you an idea, I think my 4-day stint in the hospital to have my son (a c-section with complications) ended up resulting in a $25 bill.
If there were any medical emergency with the soldier’s child, they would be covered under Tricare.
And if they’re seen on post, they may not even have the minimal co-pays.
So the idea that you should be sending thousands of dollars to them to save the child’s life is crazy.
Another twist that may come up in this story is that the medical care is covered, but they need to return home from deployment to be with their child.
According to them, the only way to do that is to pay for the flight out of their own pocket.
Since they don’t have the money to do that or, for some reason, don’t have access to their bank account (also a lie), they need you to send them the money.
Flights to and from a deployment zone, including in a situation like this, are covered by the military.
It’s not like you call Delta and book yourself a flight out of Baghdad or Bagram.
Not to mention that the military isn’t flying civilian airlines in and out of deployment zones.
I would venture to guess that much of the military doesn’t even have a passport at all as they’re deploying to different countries worldwide.
And even if they do, it’s not part of the packing list for the deployment.
Without a passport, civilian air travel between countries would be impossible.
Soldiers fly to and from on military flights.
This includes the initial flight to begin the deployment, any R&R (rest and relaxation), emergency travel, and return flight home from deployment.
There is never a charge for the flight. Ever.
So there’s the true scoop on these sob stories. Let’s recap:
1 – They are making more deployed than they were at home. So why do they need your money?
2 – Soldiers generally aren’t shipping their kids off to boarding school in Europe (or any other country).
3 – The soldier’s family is covered under Tricare medical insurance, so there’s no reason for you to pay for medical bills.
4 – Soldiers never pay for a flight to/from a deployment zone, regardless of the flight reason.
The bottom line is this – there is never any reason, no matter what the excuse may be, to send money to a soldier you met online.
Regardless of the sob story they may tell you or how hard their life seems to have been, do not send them money.
Have you encountered a scammer using these types of tactics to play on your sympathies?
Share your story below or reach out to me on Facebook.
19 thoughts on “The Sob Stories You May Be Told in a Romance Scam”
Omg I met this handsome army boy from Bushkill,PA. Steven Robert his name is. Super cute with tattoos. He’s saying he’s in Nigeria. He works in the medical department and he can’t video chat for security reasons. He tried calling me via what’s app but a moment my phone was closed. He explained his life and basically he’s alone in life. He has a daughter but his baby mother cheated on him with his best friend. He mentioned that he has property in Paris and that his parents left him enough money to cover for 4 generations at least. Butttt he needs 225$ usd to pay for his leave request so he could come to me and get to know me more as he loves me and wants to marry me (2020 is our year…he’s saying!). Also his birthday is tomorrow October 30th and he wants 30$ Extra just to enjoy a nice meal and drinks. It’s just 255$usd. But he wants me to send the money to :
Name:Egbeyemi Hammed Olumide
And told me: The section said that you should include the 3 agents name….. And you should write the name correctly that you should make sure that you didn’t miss any or write any letter of his name wrong so that it won’t give him any problems.
I asked for his military email and he answered:
Babe I have it but it needs validation and until its validated, its prohibited for me to give it out babe. He then got more frustrated and texted me this:
Well….. Like I told you earlier if you can’t still believe me that you’re taking all this online stuff and listen to what other are saying its okay….. And moreover I can’t just be begging you for the amount of money that has no meaning to what I have in my bank and I’m using this opportunity to tell you that I won’t beg you to send me the money anymore….. Cos I’m seeing myself as if I am begging for love…. Just because I need your help to get to you and make whatever started come true you turn it to another thing….. Though I know you have to protect yourself but at the same time all what you’re asking me can spoil the name I’ve been building for years
LISTEN… I asked this guy to send me different pictures. One with a peace sign and one doing the finger. And I got the pictures AS REQUESTED. Me too I got a picture saying “BELIVE ME….”. His English is full of mistakes like cos instead of cause or because. But as per him he grew up in France so it’s normal his written English is not so good. My stupid ass was falling! But my guts is telling me…let the dirty blond hair, blue eyes FAKE SOLDIER BIG SCAMMER go! He claim that he has my contact and will msg me in 9 months after deployment so he could show me that I should’ve trusted him and oh…IT WILL BE TOO LATE FOR ME SO NO MORE DATING.
I’ve had a Frederick Stevens contact me out of the blue on messenger.
He lost his wife to cancer 4 years ago and his 14 year old daughter is in boarding school, considering he is american, English doesn’t appear to be his first language, either that or he’s not very bright!
He wants a future with me after talking to me for less than 24 hours. He has a “rest in peace Barbara something “ tattoo on his chest. His pictures happen to be beautiful, but no one that hot has ever showed an interest on me.
He’s barking up the tree with me, I’ve got 2 children and regardless of how tough things are for him, my money goes to my family, not a random stranger. He asked for my email address but I said no as I barely know him. I’ve heard nothing since and made the decision to block him.
Oh and of course he’s on a top secret peacekeeping mission in Iraq!
What is your actual FB page for Military Dating Scams (there are several when you do search)?
I met a guy on WooPlus about 4 weeks ago, many of the things noted in your article: good looking, 3rd tour, stationed in Istanbul as Special Forces, First Sargent, wife died (gave me name & maiden name) 3 years ago September in car accident, 7 yr old daughter (gave me name) living with late wife’s parents in Portland, OR, has 3 BR house in Dayton, OH (I have probed for a *lot* of information, and have been recording it separately, as well as have exported all our WhatsApp chats and saved them, and all emails received). Have been told of previous 2 tours overseas, and general lengths of time for them. He’s due back in September from this 18 mo tour then retiring. I have done a search on his name(s) , email, & phone # (which is east Lansing, MI and odd if he’s from OH) to no results at all online, tried to do property searches with him or wife’s name to little avail (wife comes up, but several with her name). His English usage 50% of the time is that of a non-native speaker, but when asked how many languages he spoke, he said English was it. For all the military training he supposedly had (ranger, etc) and a PoliSci degree, spending summers in France with his mom’s parents growing up & having relatives as high ranking officials in India, you’d think he spoke at least a couple languages. Mom, an RN died 10 years ago, dad, a good importer with his uncle, died 15 (or vice versa)
After reading your article, I have blocked him from my WhatsApp chat, but not yet email. The last communication with him was email last night, telling him I needed to step back (I am, seriously, in a super busy time for my job that takes all my focus to be effective, and I have not been), and that once he is back in town, he can reach out, we can meet somewhere face to face and go on real dates, if he truly cares as much as he claims, and see where it goes from there. Without boldface calling his bluff, I am trying to do just that.
I will say I’m embarrassed that I wasn’t thinking with my head when I sent him a $25 Amazon gift card the other morning, but after doing so, that was the piece that dropped in my head to really wake me up and start probing harder to dig for truths, as well as start to research military scams- after talking to a co worker & my aunt who is a widow that works in a civilian position for the Army in GA, and has been on dating sites since the passing of my uncle.
I have a LOT (7-8) of different pics of this guy- they are all the same guy, and a distinguishing tattoo on the right arm, and the 2 video chats we did looked just like him (my microphone would not unmute, and they were both less than 5 minutes, but the 2nd I could see his face clearly enough that he did look like the pics). He sent me 2 paragraphs about military security related to incidents from 1922 & 1923? Re: communication while overseas, etc., and when I asked for his mailing address, I was told it wasnt allowed due to COVID (that was the 2nd real flag that popped up). We’ve been communicating via his gmail, but I never thought to ask for his military email.
So, there’s so much more, but I’d love to get on your FB page for this topic as well. While I wasnt taken for huge chunks of money, or travel/insurance fakes, etc., I do feel embarrased that I fell for what he was saying (I have been divorced 20 years, never online dated after a failed attempt to sign up with E-harmony, had told only family & friends in person if I ever did get involved again, it would be with a widower who had kids, but never online) and that I was even dumb enough to send the Amazon card – small as it was in amount.
Now that I’ve rambled, thank you for any insight you feel you might want or be able to give.