I’ve worked with many taken advantage of by scammers impersonating soldiers.
Each scam has its unique attributes, but there are some common themes.
If you run across any of these elements with the person you met online claiming to be a soldier, there is no question you are dealing with a scammer.
You’re welcome to message me to chat about your situation.
But if the signs below are present, my answer will be the same as what I’m telling you in this article – it’s a scam.
Let’s dive in and look at each of the most common signs of a romance scam.
He’s on a Peacekeeping Mission
I’m not sure why this is such a popular excuse to use why they are deployed in another country, but this comes up often.
Granted, my husband served in the military as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were going strong.
Still, I have never heard a real soldier refer to his deployment as a peacekeeping mission.
It’s just not common terminology in the military.
Though if I based it solely on the people who have found themselves involved with a scammer, you would think peacekeeping missions are the only reason any of our military ever leaves the country.
They may also say they’re on a peacekeeping mission with the U.N. in what is usually a war-torn country, but he’s in the U.S. military.
It’s definitely a red flag.
He’s in a Country You Haven’t Heard of Us Officially Being In
We have soldiers deployed to various regions and countries around the globe.
With most, you can easily learn we have a presence in that country with a simple Google search.
You will hear references to many countries in various news stories about our actions or, sadly, when a soldier is killed.
If you do not hear that we’re in that country from very public sources, the person is full of it.
Do we currently have soldiers in countries that the general public isn’t aware of? Absolutely.
But here’s the deal.
The soldiers deployed somewhere like that aren’t allowed to tell their spouse where they are, much less a random person they met online.
Those missions and deployments are generally classified.
And any real soldier would quickly find himself on the first plane back to the U.S. in some serious trouble for divulging their location.
If he’s truly in Syria, he can’t tell you he’s in Syria.
My husband was in special operations.
At the time he was in, we weren’t even able to tell anyone he deployed.
I wasn’t allowed to know exactly where he was or when he was coming home.
Our conversations were monitored to make sure there weren’t any slips.
So the chance that a soldier would volunteer he’s currently chatting with you from Syria is none to none.
The other country often used is Nigeria.
As many of these scammers are actually located in Nigeria, he may be telling the truth.
But he’s not in Nigeria with the U.S. military.
He’s on a Top Secret Mission
Ok, let’s think about this.
Does he volunteer that he’s on a top-secret mission?
There is no conversation between the soldier and his closest confidantes if he’s on a “top secret mission” and certainly not with someone he met online.
The very idea of a top-secret anything is that it remains a secret.
They aren’t allowed to speak of it.
There are serious legal consequences to leaking information that is classified, which a top-secret mission would be.
If someone tells you this, end the conversation. He’s lying.
He Needs You To Talk To His Commander
This has always been one of my favorites because it’s so ridiculous.
Sad but true, when you are involved with a soldier but not yet married, you are basically invisible to the military.
You’re not a consideration if you’re not married, and some would argue being married to him doesn’t even help.
Commanders or higher-ranking officers do not have time to chat with and vet the person a soldier met online while he’s deployed.
There’s no interest in it and no benefit to it.
Quite frankly, they have better things to do with their time.
There is no reason for you to talk to his commander.
He doesn’t need permission from his commander to speak with you, email you, or call you.
No matter how official sounding the title may be, you are not communicating with a high-ranking officer in the United States military.
He Needs You To Fill Out Fiancee Paperwork
This is generally used in conjunction with the scam above about needing to speak to his commander.
In this instance, he will inform you to speak to each other on the phone, continue communicating online, or even get engaged; you need to complete paperwork.
There is no such thing as this paperwork in the real world of the military.
Again, the military doesn’t care if you exist until you’re married.
And then the only official paperwork on you is what you have to do to get your military ID made AFTER you get married.
He will tell you that you can’t get engaged until you have completed this paperwork.
He may even tell you that you need to complete the fiancee paperwork to be eligible for his benefits or him to send money to you.
Typically, this form appears to come from a higher-ranking officer and has specific instructions to follow.
This includes a processing fee for the form.
In some cases, they may tell you the fee is to enable him to return home.
The paperwork will usually appear on watermarked paper with the logo of that particular branch of service (Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, etc.).
The grammatical errors within the form are generally laughable.
He Refuses to Provide His Military Email Address
Every soldier is assigned a military email address.
This email address ends in mail.mil.
His official military email address will not be Gmail, Yahoo, or anything similar.
It also won’t end in usa.com.
If it doesn’t end in mail.mil, it’s not an official military email address.
There is NO reason why he can’t share this with you. After all, it’s just an email.
It’s not top-secret, he doesn’t have to get permission from his commander, and there is no security risk to him providing it to you.
If he can’t provide it to you, he’s a scammer. Period.
It is always funny to me when someone says he can’t share his email address but then sends me a picture of what is supposedly his military ID.
His email address is a lot less sensitive than his military ID.
If he refuses to provide his email address, cut communication.
Even if he provides it, you must try to send an email to it by starting a new email.
Do not reply to the email he sent to you, even if it looks like it came from a mail.mil email address.
Does it bounce back when you try to send it?
Is he able to reply to you from the mail.mil email address with your original email intact?
Every single person who suspected they were involved in a scam and has ever tried this found the email address the person gave was fake.
He Asks For Money
This is the biggest clue of all.
A real soldier is not going to meet someone online and then ask for money.
And certainly won’t do it with some made-up story as to why he needs it.
Asking for money can occur in multiple ways.
He could ask for an iTunes gift card.
He could ask you to pay for his flight home from his deployment.
He could ask you to cash the check he’s sending to you and so you can send the money to him.
He could ask you to send him money via Western Union.
He could tell you that you have to pay a fee to continue communicating with each other.
He could give you a sob story about how his child needs medical care, and he doesn’t have access to his bank account.
Regardless of how it happens, if he asks you to spend money on anything, it’s a scam.
Scammers are working on multiple victims at once, and it may be anywhere from a few days to a few months before the topic of money comes up.
Regardless of when it may, it’s always a scam.
Some have insisted he’s real because they have been talking for six months, and this is the first time he’s asking for money.
It doesn’t matter when he asks.
If you honor any of these requests, the next ask for money will only get larger.
They will play on your sympathy and good heart to try to get you to part with your money.
Trust your gut.
If there’s even a small part of you that thinks it may be a scam, it probably is.
These are the biggest signs that you are dealing with a scammer.
If the soldier you met online sounds similar, cut communication.
Then, check out this article about what to do if you are involved in a scam.
If you have questions about a situation you’re in with a soldier you met online, reach out to me.
7 thoughts on “7 Signs of a Military Romance Scam”
To be very honest, I didn’t think that this was a type of scam. I heard about the Nigerian Prince and guys getting hit by cars clinging to life, but this new scam is a piece of work. I honestly thought I met the man of my dreams: smart, witty, handsome, and honorable. His background story was perfect. He talked about taking care of his grandmother and her siblings and even owning a home in the States. I knew of the area well and he quickly gave me the housing community information. Not only this but he mentioned how he was scammed by a female online and how he sent her $10,000 of his money. He also talked about how he was actually cat fished by the same female. It can t be a scam because what scammer would discuss scams during their text messages right?
In less than a week he was totally in love with me and you could tell that he wanted me to have those same feelings. Umm, good thing I am a cold hardened chick because I would have totally fallen in love. Even now, I am thinking about his back story because he didn’t really waiver from it. Sure there were some small red flags, for example he said he was leaving at the end of August to come back to the States and would be retired after 10 years. Retirement is 20 years. Also, he is in Italy but is acting as if he is in a war zone? Italy is an ally of the United States, really you are afraid you are going to die in Italy? Really? Even then, I prayed for his safe return home until he said he was sick and needed a care package. You see, he is more than likely in “special ops” (never said it, but alluded to it) and could not leave the base. Me being caring I asked what he needed and he said, “nothing, I got my boys going out to get me an amazon card to order a few things”. I thought, “oh good he is legit” and then hilariously, after a few hours he wrote me back saying his boys weren’t able to get it and asked me to send it. I told him I was uncomfortable doing that and he simply said okay.
Every since we started talking he would text every morning around 5:30 a.m. The following morning after my refusal, he didn’t text until later that afternoon. I am so angry because I lost the love of my life in Iraq and to think that people will prey on people’s emotions like that for money is absolutely grimy. Horribly, he knew all of this information and still is contacting me. I wish it wasn’t a scam but after reading these blogs, oh it is a major scam. Please ladies and gents be aware. I really wish there was someway I could scam the scammer. 🙂
I came in contact with “Delvin Brown” on a dating site. After about 6 weeks he was deployed to Chad. He seemed educated, eloquent, and had an impressive vocabulary but something was off with his grammar. After being in Chad for 2 weeks he started talking about ideas he has for improvements and need to do research but not having access to Amazon and getting things sent to him and how he needs to make friends with a Chad soldier for shipments (at this point red flags everywhere). Then he started asking for amazon gift cards. I told him money was tight could we video chat and he said that was too dangerous being in a combat zone. I stopped replying.
I’m glad you caught on to all the signs and stopped communicating!
Thank you so much Stacey for your articles. I wish I had seen/read them before I was scammed. A “UN General” Edwards Herman supposedly on a peace keeping mission in Syria. He is a very smooth talking liar – Unfortunately – I was GULLIBLE AND DUMB and sent this evil man $31,000. Amazingly, he almost convinced me to send him an additional $10,000 more in order to “get him home”. All of my life savings gone; this has really broken me. Please Everybody – Beware of this Scammer – He is very Smooth Talking – he will get you to communicate on Google Hangouts and you will soon become puddy in his slimy hands. He asked for money about 2 weeks after we started communicating – a week into it – he told me he loved me and wanted to marry me. He has used several email addresses; EdwardsHerman001@gmail.com
Oh no, Judith. I’m so sorry you were involved in this scam and especially at this magnitude.
I met a gut named Mills Harvey on Facebook dating; who claimed to be in military. He lured me off the dating site onto what’s app. He talked very Eloquent and had away with words. He eventually asked for money in a very smooth fashion. I sent $200 as opposed to his request of $400. I feel Siri stupid and in want my money back.
A guy took my email address from LinkedIn, he told me that his wife and 2 kids died in a tragic fire they died. He communicated with me for a week. He sent photos of himself in the place bothered got deployed and said that he has some gifts for me that he needs to send me. He left for deployment as he said that he is a soldier. He said that he spoke to a close friend and told him to DHL the gifts to me, but his friend came back to me via email and said that I needed to pay $250 as there was not enough monies that the soldier left to do the DHL. The soldier only left him $300 he needs to pay $550., he uses a gmail account and not one from the military like mail.ml. Got me thinking 🤔