You’ve Been Catfished: Military Style…How To Find Out If The Soldier You Met Online Is Really A Soldier


I met my husband online eleven years ago long before the days of Facebook and Twitter. In fact Myspace was probably still in beta and was where it was happening at. However we met on Love@AOL before it became and when it was free. We talked everyday for three hours on the phone and it was eight months before I actually came here to Fayetteville , North Carolina to meet him in person. When I look back at how silly and stupid I was back then , I call myself a damn fool.

Here I was meeting this man whom I had barely seen on camera because there was no Skype , Tango’s or Oovoo’s back then. We had a grainy version of Netmeeting that was as good as not seeing the person at all. I booked a ticket via Amtrak and came down here to Fort Bragg, North Carolina on a whim , really thinking that this guy I am talking to is going to exist and sweep me off my feet and hopefully won’t hide me in the woods in a dufflebag. Fortunately, for me I was lucky he (my husband) was exactly he said he was and did all of the above…well except for the hiding me in the woods part!

Unfortunately , for many it doesn’t turn out that way. I am astounded at the number of emails I have still been getting from women who are are engaged or dating so called military personnel whom they have never seen and have only talked to online. The dating online part isn’t even really the shocking part for me. What is shocking- is these fake military personnel who are leading naive ladies into believing they have found their soulmates, and getting rich off of them too.

The scheme these fakers are running is a pretty easy one because most women are sensitive and loving creatures who want to fall in love. We are easy prey, and when you have a man saying everything you want to hear it’s easy to get lost in emotion. The fake soldier comes across real by using fallen troops pictures and names. They believe that the payoff will be so great in the end, that they take time to get to know you and ask questions about your life as to create the illusion that they really care. They don’t care! They are trying to build your trust.

That scheme has also taken on the term Catfished, thanks to the popularity of the MTV Show “Catfish” based on people who are seeking to find out if the people they have become romantically involved with online; are really who they say they are.

After woo-ing the woman who he has most likely met via a social network or dating site, he then begins his pity story which usually revolves around one of these few scenarios:

*I am deployed with no family and I have a hard time getting what I need over here

* I am trying to come home on leave and I don’t have the money to do so

* I went AWOL and need money to get out of this situation

* I need you to apply for leave on my behalf (which require a fee)  because I really want to come and see you

If this has happened to you then you are officially being not only catfished but conned, duped ,and scammed. This is nothing but another version of the Nigerian Money Scams.

5 Ways To Tell If You Are Being Catfished Military Style

1. If the fake soldier starts giving you the story about how he needs things he can’t get “over there” but wants you to send money instead of a care package that is room for suspicion.Military members get paid and have access to the majority of what they need even in combat zones.

2. If the fake soldier says he needs you to sign papers for him to come on leave and send a fee that is an automatic red flag. Military spouses and significant others do not need to sign or pay for anything in relation to military coming home from overseas. Additionally leave from a combat zone is called R&R and is now only applicable if the service member is going to be overseas a year or more so be sure to ask him during your conversations how long he has been there. You can view fake examples of forms by clicking here: to see if they match up. Even if they say they are not in a combat zone but stationed overseas, they will never need you to sign off for them to go on leave.

3. If this so called soldier says he needs money to get out of being AWOL ( A term used in the United States Military to describe a soldier or other military member who has left his or her post without permission (usually in disagreement with a particular order”via Urban Dictionary”.) he is lying. No money you pay will get him out of this punishable act.

4. Ask scammers what they do in the military and their MOS which is a number followed by a letter.Sure they can google but if you happen to be on the phone and it’s taking them awhile to answer you that’s a red flag. Google Military MOS to help you verify.

5. Lastly remember Google is your best friend. Scammers like to use pictures of fallen soldiers so use the tool that the Catfish cast uses to search images with just one click. Click here for Google Image Search. You can also use some of the websites and Facebook pages that try to expose fake soldiers such as Stolen Valor and their official website Guardians of Valor .


Don’t be a sucker for online love so quickly. Do you research and don’t get Catfished!





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  6. Murni Wiyati

    I have been communicating for nearly 5 months with someone who said he is US Army stationed in Afghanistan. Honestly, I have great admiration on him and I love him. A part from the 15 pictures of him and some with his 8 year old son, that he has sent to me, we have also done some video calls on Skype as I needed to see that I dealt with the same person as pictures, and fortunately yes he is the same man. Though the video calls were always for a few seconds only due to restriction.
    What making me doubt is that he has been asking me to send money to his son’s nanny for his son’s school and send money to his lawyer for early retirement form and processing, for this he sent me scan receipt that looks like original from US Department of Defense but I am not sure. And I have spent lots of $ on him but he still keep asking me to send nearly every 2-3 weeks
    Please help me and what do I need to send to help you checking or verifying these out.

  7. Julie

    I just recently started talking to a soldier, he seems great so far. but I am disabled so he’s barking up the wrong tree if he thinks he can get any money from me! Anyway I won’t send him any I’m not stupid!!
    I’m so sorry for the women that got hooked. We (women) have this vision of our dream man; and when these men say all the right things our heart melts! I was injured in a domestic violence relationship 14 yrs. ago. So I don’t need or want any kind of drama like this!! I’ve had way too much and I’m done with it.
    But why I looked you up is in one week I was contacted by 3 men who say they are in the Military. 2 are on facebook, and one of them I have fallen for so I checked him on Facebook. Yes he was there!

  8. I am so happy I stumbled across your site. The information on here is great. The final nails in this guys coffin were the secret mission, and the fact that there are no friends on his face book profile. The funny thing is that hes trying to tell me I am the one playing games and when I mentioned I had gotten burnt on Facebook, he assured me Oh I AM Not on of those guys. Oh well it was fun while it lasted.

  9. O recently started talking to a guy who claims he is in the army in iraq and that his wife died and he wants to be with me and just everything i want to hear . Has anyone heard of mark donaldson?

    • Army Wife 101

      Honey no one here will tell you they heard of him because the military doesn’t work like that. If he is asking for money and telling you his wife died or that he is in Nigeria or Syria he is a scammer. If he won’t get on webcam and keeps making excuses he is a scammer. I receive emails everyday with this same story!

  10. crystal

    I have been talking to this military man for nearly two years. He asked for money in order to process his leave from Nigeria. He even had supposadly friends and family sending me money to me in order to send to him in Nigeria and now he says im in trouble for not completing things. He has all the signs of being a scammer. The email address doesnt end in either or instead it ends in please help confirm that this is in fact a scammer. He too asked me to send him money in order to pay his bills along with request for his leave on his behalf to come home. Please help ASAP im a single mother of three!

  11. renee

    He said he needs money for food cause he list he’s card an it cost 800 to get it back an he needs 390 for he’s leave an the money for a plane ticket

  12. yhall

    I have been talking to as guy I met online for about two months. He says he is a staff sargent in the US Army and is in Afghanastan. He told me his wife died five years ago and he has two sons. They are living in Madrid with his mother. He does have some type of an accent but the messages but I cant tell what it is. We did a video Skype and he is the guy in the pictures that he sent and that were on his profile. I could not hear him because I did not have my Skype set up and my volume was down. He did ask me once to help him with a bill and I refused however he continues to talk and Skype text but says he cant video cam much they are not allowed. I do not hear from him everyday. He says he is retiring in September and has never asked me to sign papers for him to get out early or pay for anything. He says when he comes back in September we can get know each other better. He said he deleted the dating site and he did I checked. He also has offered to delete facebook but there is no point he doesn’t use it. I am just somehow curious. I ask him all kinds of questions and he answers them right away. Like I will periodically ask him what time it is there and he gives me the correct time and I know because I have a clock up in front of me with the correct time. He even asked me about my birthday next month and remembered the month and the day we had that conversation back two months ago. I was surprised he still remembered. I don’t know if I should just ride it out until September and see what happens or just give up and forget it. I just have a huge guard up and don’t trust easy.

    • Army Wife 101

      Hi Yvonne,

      It’s possible that it might not be a scam. However one of the common things these guys usually come up with is that their spouse passed away and they have kids living with a parent in a foreign country. Maybe die it out but the minute he starts with the money requests I’d say bye quickly.

  13. I think I be catfish by this guy who says he’s in the army but I ain’t sure is their anyone out that can help to prove if he’s in the army or not he said he needs 390 for he’s leave I already sent him money once please help me I live off ssi I only get 727 s month I really care bout this guy u have fallen in love wit him please help me

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