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”
Met him online within the week.
He is on peacekeeping near Kabul.
His parents died when he was young.
He writes constantly about the perfect relationship built on trust, honesty, communication, affection….
I offer to send him a care package and ask him how to address it. He has never received a care package and needs to find out how it’s addresses from his CO. He gets back to me with an address of his Delivery Agent in Houston Texas that has no appearance of being a military entity.
This all lines up with your warnings!
I think I’m being scammed.
It definitely sounds like a typical scam. I’m glad you haven’t sent anything but so sorry you ended up in the middle of this with one of these scammers. They’re heartless.
I met someone online thru Christian Mingle website and it was a few months ago. He said he was a Captain for the Army and was a helicopter pilot stationed in Syria but his homebase is in California ( Camp Pendleton ) which is a Marine base not an Army base. We connected and started sending messages and pictures thru this website. He soon told me about an app that is free so I downloaded it and continued messaging him and he kept responding. It’s called Hangout App. Anyway, he said he would be retiring in May and would be coming back to California and wanted me to attend is retirement ceremony on base at Camp Pendleton which is about 30 – 45 min from my home. He said he was a widow and his parents died when he was young. He only had one son and he was studying abroad in Europe. He sent me pictures of his family in Texas where he was from and I sent him pictures of my family as well. He requested a care package and sent me a list of things he needed. I couldn’t send him everything he needed but I sent him what I could. He said he didn’t have an APO address and said he was in a remote area in Syria and said they use a mail courier service and he sent me the email to contact this courier service. After I sent the package end of March he sent me another message stating that I needed to send him $ 150 to cover the courier services and I didn’t have that kind of money because I’m a single mom and I’m on medical leave. Anyway, I kept tracking the package and it never reached it’s destination to the address he gave me in Africa. I even went to the post office twice to ask about the package but they couldn’t track it either since it’s outside of the U.S. It’s been 3 months so I’m sure it’s lost somewhere. My older son is in the Military so I know they have an APO address no matter where they are stationed. He request money for other things and also phone cards to call me but I never met him personally or even talked to him on the phone. He also said his computer didn’t have FaceTime or Skype features so we couldn’t video chat. I never sent him money only a care package. He hasn’t sent me any more messages since end of May and said he won’t be coming home for another 6 months so not too sure if he was just lying to me. I was hoping to meet him in person in May but it’s already July. I did report him to the Internet Crime Complaint Center about 2 weeks ago but I haven’t received any response from them yet.
I have been on POF for almost a month now. I met a man who says he is a Brigadier General for the USAF. He claims he is on Syria, has over 200 troops under his command and has sent me pictures of himself and a captive ISIS terrorist. It took him two days to tell me he is in love with me. Now he’s going to marry me when he comes home in two weeks. He hasn’t asked for money yet but I tried looking him up by name and on airforce sites names and rank and can’t find him.
Oh wow, this is definitely a scam. Can you send me this picture through Facebook messenger on the Military Dating Scams Facebook page?
Hi, I’ve been contacted by a man claiming to be in the Army, first by Facebook (where we have no friends in common) and then started sending me messages through FB Messenger. He then asked for me to download Hangouts. Within the an hour of communicating he told me he lost his wife to cancer and has 3 boys back in Houston, Texas. All seemed well until he started calling me “baby”, “babe” and then “my love”. He sent pictures of him and then pictures of him and his boys. He’s a very attractive man and his name on FB is Danny White. Within a few days…he tells me he loves me and that God brought us together and that we are sole mates. He doesn’t always send messages as he tells me he’s busy at work but when he does he’s all loving and telling me how we are meant to be together. That brings me to today’s message, he said he has a favor to ask, he needs a card for music and upgrades for a device he used in camp and that he can’t get one since he’s not in the states. Hmmm? I didn’t respond back right away since I got a funny feeling about this…when I did ask him to tell me more about this “card”, I have not heard back from him. I feel like this is a scam and I need to run the other direction. Any thoughts?
Yes, trust your gut. This is a scam. There’s no reason to ever send money to a soldier in any form (gift cards, care packages, or actual cash).
I would really like to know how to tell the guy in the pictures my scammer sent me that they are being used in a scam. I have done multiple image searches on the pictures they sent but have had no luck. Any chance u can help?
Please feel free to private message the pictures to me through the Military Dating Scams Facebook page. But the best way to know for sure is to ask for his military email address.
Sounds so familiar!! He is deployed in Kabul till the end of the month. His parents died and in the free time he likes to go out od the base to drink a beer – is it posible for a soldier to just go out of his base in Afganistan and drink a beer just like that??? I think its a scam… but he’ve chosen wrong girl cause I would never sent money to anyone I don’t know.
No, that would not be possible. They can’t just go out into the Afghanistan society like that, not to mention that drinking while deployed is a major offense.
I am s single eiman whose only child was taken away at age 16. This man approached me with the story of being a widower with a small boy killed on a motor accident and his only remaining child.a daughter being cared for in Ghana his daughter in gray need of a mother and it played to my heart strings particularly when he introduced me (he was called there when she became ill) by text and she asked to call me mom. They are supposedly moving here to Australia to me ( he was supposedly born here). He has asked me for money ( I have very little, am a pensioner) and said I couldn’t help but sent a little. The signs are there from
Having read your blog and it’s breaking my heart as I have waited my whole life for the chance to raise a child ( she is 14). I don’t know how to proceed except I will send any money it just conversation in a lonely life is heartening. The phiyigraohd seem so genuine, they are very clever obviously. I should have had more sense than to think someone would love me like this. But how can s little child be part of this. He has taken to calling me and that is what made me realise that the voice I hear does not match the picture of the man I see. I feel that my life has come to an end.
Sue, I’m so sorry to hear about your child and that a scammer has taken advantage of you like this. Please rest assured there are so many genuine people still out there that you could meet. These people make me so mad for playing with people’s hearts like they do.
He says he can’t access his money since he didn’t tell his bank he was going overseas. We video chatted and he send me photos. Funny hownhe can’t access his funds butbhe could send me money via money gram to pay off my credit card so I could send him money back. Sounded Fishy so I told him no can do. We”ll see if hear from him again.
I have been messaging a guy for a few months on the app Hangout. And he told me so many things how his parents died in a wreck and his wife died of cancer leaving his 5yr old without a mom and he’s supposedly in a lutienant in the military. He says his daughter is in boarding school being taking care of my there nanny.. now he’s going to retire in a few months he says.. for someone he has requested that he needs to send me his pay along with all his soldiers pay 7 million to be exact.. he has sent me pics of a certified paper saying he has shipped a package and will pic this up when we meet he has also sent a video of the money he says he needs to send me to hold for him .. I’m very worried about this.. what do I do and who can I contact for help
Hi this website is amazing as after reading everything the alarm bells are screaming at me with the situation I have found myself in. I was contacted by a guy on a gay dating website we began chatting and sure as anything I got the my family were killed in a car accident leaving me orphaned so was raised by my uncle but didn’t have a good relationship so joined the army to get away and make a happier life for myself, telling me am his family now and he loves me so much and when he retires he will come home to me and we can get married and have a happy future together but to get his release I need to sign documents as his spouse so he can come home, I was taken in and stupidly gave him my mailing details to send the documents. But now it seems to have stepped up a gear, as the ones due for retirement have been gifted some gold and 1.6 million dollars by the President for their service and his sending it all to me in a treasure box to look after for him till he comes home then we can use it for our future so I would be contacted by the post master to make arrangements for the package, this was done via email with a gmail.com address, was all pleasant at first but now the package is stuck at customs in Denmark and for it to be released I need to pay vat fees for its release and if I don’t pay my address will be traced and I will be arrested, now the amount I was asked for I don’t have and when I stated this to the post master I was told the return fee and it was in my best interest to cooperate or I would be brought before the law as this is the customs rules and regulations. After finding this site so many other factors of our so called relationship are not making sense but to be told cooperate or be arrested is a scary thing and think should I go to the police or what