My name is ***** ***** I will be assisting you with your question. Thanks for requesting me.
Most military scams originate from Nigeria and Ghana. These romance scammers may know how to sweep a woman off of her feet, but they do not know a thing about the US military. Fortunately, that makes it very easy to spot a military scammer. There are ways to tell, and some of them are absolutely foolproof.
Here are some things you need to know about US soldiers who are supposedly serving abroad in a war zone:
- Soldiers in a war zone cannot internet date.
- Soldiers in a war zone cannot reveal their actual location.
-- Soldiers in a war zone are not allowed to use mobile phones.
-- They earn their leave time the way you accrue vacation time, by the amount of time they are soldiers in the military. Civilians have nothing to do with leave. They can't request it and it's nothing that a soldier has to pay to take. Like your vacation time, the leave a soldier earns is his and his alone.
-- They must use their official military email addresses for all communication, and they only get a half hour on line per week for all of their computer correspondence.
All of the above restrictions are required for national security reasons and they get enforced. You'd have never have heard from this scammer in the first place were he really in Afghanistan or some other war zone.
Any time you get involved online with a so-called soldier in the US military who immediately wants to involve you in his financial matters, it is a scam. Each and every time. Any time a US soldier needs you to send money or gifts to West Africa, he is a phony.
Here's a warning from the US Army itself about such scams, and if when you finish reading my answer you are still not sure whether to believe me, hopefully you will believe them and break off all contact now. (see link)
Meanwhile, try these tips:
1) Ask your "officer" for his official military email address.
This is not classified information. A real US soldier may have a classified email address as well, but he also has a regular military email address with which he writes to his friends and family. Every soldier does because it is the only one he is supposed to use
. When he gives his email address to you, it should end in .mil It will NOT
end in .com In other words, it should look like john.doe @us.army.mil
If the email address doesn't end in .mil on the right side of the @ sign, he is a fake. Only US servicemen can get a .mil email address, and if he can't produce one that you can email him back and forth with, he's scamming you. Period.
2) Ask him for his APO address. Tell him you want to send him a surprise and need to know where to send it. If he won't give it to you for any reason, he's scamming you. If he gives you an APO address it will look something like this:
Unit 1234, Box 56789
Note how there's no address listed. That's because members of the US military serving abroad in a war zone are not allowed to give out their locations for security purposes. All mail to them must go through military channels through a special military post office in the States. The Army will know where he is and they will get it to him.
3) Get his name, social security number and date of birth and enter it here on the US Military's website
. This too, is not classified information and, in fact, would be information he'd have to disclose if he were ever captured. The site I have linked you to should tell you if he is a soldier. If he won't tell you, then you know he's a scammer. He has no reason to refuse to give it to you. If he does but the site doesn't recognize him or contradicts what he's told you, that tells you he's a scammer too. You will get a warning from your computer when you try to use it because the site certification is different from on other sites. That's because it is an official military website, however. It is perfectly safe to continue on to be able to use the site.
The above hints are foolproof. If he can't or won't give you what you ask for then he's a fake, no matter what else he tries to say or show you or how many of his buddies he gets to write or call you.
This last doesn't always work, but when it does it's really dramatic:
4) Upload his photo to Google's Search by Image
and see if the same photo is being used all over the web on a bunch of different names and profiles. If you can't figure out how to use Search by Image you can send the photo to me through customer service and I can do this for you.
Once you realize he's a scammer, cease all contact with him. Send no money
. Report him to your local police, to Actionfraud.police.uk and because he claims to be a US soldier to the FBI at IC3, gov and the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.