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 Blackplanet.com was where it was happening at. However we met on Love@AOL before it became Match.com 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.

To help prevent military imposters from scamming women, the Army Wife 101 team has created this all-in-one guide to protect your heart and finances. Get your copy of The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Outsmarting Fake Military Scammers here.

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: http://guardianofvalor.com/con-artists-using-fake-military-documents-to-swindle-money-using-soldiers-identities/ 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 .

Protect your heart and your wallet and get your copy of The Savvy Girl’s Guide to Outsmarting Fake Military Scammers.

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





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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

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

  1. Has anyone heard of a Matthew Berry Zachary? Suppose to be a Major in Sierra. …He is scamming my Aunt and she refuses to see it. She has money troubles because of this

  2. Hi am talking to a guys he’s name is Kevin Bristol He is in the Marines base South Africa I think you said Iv been talking to him for about a month now I have sent him money because he said he wants to come home to me and we have to pay for the leave form I have like 24 pictures of him that he as sent me some in he’s uniform some in his gym gear One with he’s sister so he said I’m still not sure if he’s Real or scammer My email is kerrysmith932@yahoo.com plz can you give me some ideas

      • As a retired USA SFC if this guy is saying he needs money for his leave form that is a lie and scam. Soldiers do not have to pay for a leave form they get 30 days of leave a year and can request to take leave at any time. If they are on a mission they might have to postpone their leave till that mission is done but they will be able to use their leave and if they want to come home to see you they can do that without you paying for it… So this is a SCAM!

  3. Do you know certain George Smith? He told me he was deployed in kabul Afghanistan.He told me that if we want to be together,i must send a mail at their base.and ask the base if they will allow him to take a leave..if the base will allow him,he needs to pay because of unfinished mission.

  4. This Guy Damian Smith sent me messages in social Media. He indicated that he’s a Doctor for the Military and was recruited by the US Army for Keep Peace Mission? As I was searching on the page not many photos and each time he’s posted photos. A address I. The map from nigeria shows up? He’s been very aggressive with becoming good friends and possibly becoming more than friends? The English is off and just doesn’t fit the pictures on the profile. He has not asked for money but I sent a message indicating in order for us to be good friends. To Skype or FaceTime just to make sure I’m talking to the right person? No response yet but my gut told me something isn’t right.

  5. Somebody by the name of Bryan lewis. Told me his located at Kabul Afghanistan. Told me that all their food supply was bombed it had no food and asked if I would send him money. I blocked all contact with this person. Somebody out there is using this guy family pictures. There’s several Facebook accounts open on this guys name Another one is mikel Lewis to.

  6. Someone is asking for me to send a google play gift card to his daughter because he cant get one for her? Scam or no?

  7. His name is Robert Carlos Williams says he is in the Navy and is a surgeon. Right now he is in Somalia on a two year contract which will be up in December 2019. We talk everyday video chatted a few times. Sure wish I knew if he was real

  8. Please help me ladies urgently.somebody know he name is srg.John Marsh he is recruited peacekeeping in Libya.i talking with him but I don’t know it’s a real or not real solders.he give me two privete number one is usa number the other is uk.

  9. This guy is now saying to me I have to pay 650.00 Canadian dollars to get him here. He said him and his daughter are coming and that he’s been there in niggeria Ikeja for 15 years. He sent me a video bot when talking on what’s app he don’t sound like his video. And speaks different too. He said it’s because he’s been there for 15 year .

  10. Similar situation here excep I met on piggygo game on FB. Then on to WhatsApp. Chatted and he gave sob story about wife getting killed in auto accident while he was driving. Now he’s in Afghanistan and his daughter is in boarding school. Chatted for less than a week then he tells me he loves me etc etc. said he is 2d Lt. out of Nellis AF Base. Name on game was Gary Samuels. Then he told me he was Jackson Sullivan. Then he asked for Steam card and I grew suspicious. Did some checking and found the pictures he was using are also located on three other websites. One I think may be valid as it contains more pictures of him and his family. The information there states his name is Grayson Sullivan and the last name matches the name on his uniform in one of the pics. And other
    personal info such as where he went to college and where he lives Kansas City. And he’s US Army. It also provides an email.
    No I did not send a stream card. I told him I would rather send
    a phone card through the program Helping hero’s call home or
    through the military army/Air Force exchange. That’s when he
    suddenly had to leave for an emergency meeting and will get in
    touch later tonight. Right. He also said that he was from
    Sacramento Ca and I questioned him why he had a So
    California phone number. Gave some BS about routing the
    calls through that number when he was in the control room
    since cell phone use wasn’t allowed.

    Wish there wAs a way of letting the veteran whose pic he is cat fishing with know what’s going on. It’s a disgrace what these scammers are doing by scapegoating our military.

    Any suggestions armywife? Is there a place I can forward the pictures so army central intelligence or cyber security can possibly identify and get in contact with him to let him know?

  11. Hi is it right for me to speak to my guy on phone or video chat , he has to register me as his partner? With the department of defence and that it will cost him money, he’s not asked me for money but he said he’ll send me the email and I have to email the address to give all my info etc , is this right? Because the British arnt is not like this, he’s stationed at fort bragg, he seems so genuine I hope this is true ? X

  12. I have something similar that happened , mine is a guy named Gavin M Tyler, went on a special mission and the country gave him money. Sent his military documents to me and told me I should pay 1550 for him. When I didn’t he told me I had a dark soul and should die.

  13. my guys name is jaxon Jordan. in Belgium. he asks for steam cards for data to talk to me and to play games. he did post a pic holding my name he wrote on a piece of paper.. and I asked him to hold up 3 fingers an he did n sent me a pic. I still feel like something is off… he refuses to take more pics says his phone camera is messed up n don’t take good pics and old ones he sent me he says a man took n uploaded to a database that’s why theyre all from different times.. our connection is so amazing I still feel afraid to trust it all…

  14. Hi mer him on IG. His name is Josen Enwright. Has pictures of a daughter. I get a funny feeling he asked for me to ageee to be his woman 1 day after chatting. He hasnt asked for anything. I told him lets meet in Miami Oct 4. Suddenly today he has ro travel to Afgan…mind you he claims he got notice only today.

  15. Hi I met an alleged us marine E8 gunnery Sargent David Corey Moore on a dating site. He said he from Austin Texas. Was on lol peace mission in Somalia. He first was due to come home in May. Said his leave wasn’t approved. He applied again when it was time to leave 9-16-2019 the new commander inform him he wasn’t approve have his wife or fiance apply for his leave. I knew then this bogus. The contract he has with the corps not me not military personnel would acknowledge my request for him. Smh. During the months I been talking with him he ask me for itune cars and stream cards. He said to download games and music for when he at the gym. I didn’t see no harm in that so I did. But now he asking for money just 400 to go with the money he currently have to get a direct flight to the states. I know the military pays for everything or he can travel by red Cross. I been going alone with his stories to see what more I can get from him so I can report him. I wish someone can tell me how can report this. To make the person aware his picture being used.i have 4 military pictures in uniform. Other are car videos him driving in uniform others are videos of him driving in civilian clothes singing and goofing off.the others arepics of him in the gym. He even sent me a photo of him receiving certification of becoming an elite trainer. He has an accent he claim his mom from UK andhis dad from texas. His dad died when he was young his mom sent him to UK to live cause he was acting out. He was 10 when he left visit Texas with her sometime but his accent cause he lived in the UK mostly. Then he came back to the states 2 years then signed up for the marines at the age of 20 years old. He been in the marines 20 years and looking to complete his retirement paperwork once he get home. Plz help me inform David Moore this most likely scamming Nigeeian using his name and photos to lure women to swindle money.

  16. Two weeks ago I got a friend request on Facebook 3 days later he asked me to go on WhatsApp which I did then her deleted his Facebook account. We chat everyday says he’s deployed to Afghanistan his home town is Miami Florida, has a 12 year old son in boarding school his wife got hit with a car so got killed 4 years ago on her way back from shopping. He’s asked for photos of mygrownup kids which I’ve refused but has photos of me. Says when he retires he wants to come over to England and keeps saying about what we will do when we’re married has I’m his girl. I’ve no photos of him only information I have is that he’s a Peacekeeping office in Afghanistan and he’s called Williams Johnson.age 56. Just wondering his he real he’s not asked for money are anything has says he has money and owns his own house in Miami. When he comes to England wants me to go back with him to see him home.

  17. I met a William Smith Jackson on Facebook first then he was texting me on messager without Facebook he said hes in the us army in kubul at first then he blamed me for phoning him and he got done for having a phone so he got sent to court marchall court in Washington then he ran off for sometime hes had over a thousand pounds of my money thats not right i do really care about him and I love him so much phone broke down and I had to get a new one but hes egnoring me now and im so upset about all this my lifes a mess and suicidal

  18. This article I’d a little dated so I’m not confident I will get a reply, but im talking with a ” William Garcia” says he is a first class sergeant in the us army stationed in west Africa. He has not asked for money, but when asked what address I would send a care package through he gave me This and said it was the soldier that ” gets them their packages

    Name: Adesoye Akeem
    City: Badagry
    State: lagos
    Country: Nigeria
    Address: marina road badagry lagos Nigeria
    Zip code: 23401
    Phone number:+2359038080153

    Says DHL is the carrier. I have not asked for his mos yet but have asked to video chat or email with no answer yet. ( just asked after reading this article)

    Am I just wasting my time? Like most of us i want him to be real, but im having serious doubts after reading this.

    I have plenty of pictures and I’ve looked up articles about him but I can’t be sure he isn’t cat fishing me with some one else’s pictures. Especially after not getting his APO address.

    Does he need to be blocked?

  19. I was asked to come friends with someone called Williams Robinson on Facebook 3 weeks ago not long after he deleted his account and went on WhatsApp. Said he was a US peacekeeping officer from Miami Florida and been deployed to Afghanistan, has 1 12year old son Alex who is in a Boarding House in North Carolina he took him there because he was getting bullied because he has no mum she was killed by a car on the way home from a shopping mall. He has sent me 3photoes 1 being in uniform but cant see any badges are anything on the uniform. Everything was ok then on the 08/10/2019 I had to have my dog put to sleep not long after, he said if he was married the united nation had informed him that they wanted to compensate the Wives of all United State Army Generals in Afghanistan for being patient with their husband even though their always sent on peacekeeping missions or the other. The thing is he wanted a marriage certificate said his Barrister could do one for us but said banks don’t work in Afghanistan so id have to sort out the expenses which would be 1290 Dollars over £1,000 English money. Id already smelt a scam but on Friday 11/10/2019 he voice called me on WhatsApp even more I smelt a scam he had a Nigerian Accent not American like I expected he would have. Just wondering has he done this before. I want to report him but don’t know how with me being in England id appreciate any help in reporting this guy.

    • This sounds so similar to mine name Troy Wilson. Son in boarding school in England getting bullied as mum died in a tragic accident on her birthday h e started demanding I send iTunes so I blocked him

  20. I’ve been chatting with Anthony Walter when I asked him when he is supposed to come home he said I had to request this from his commander I became suspicious when his email was USA.com because honestly it seemed generic they he told me I had to send $610 through Western Union when he sent the information it was some foreign name place was Niagara he claimed these are liaison for the government. So I questioned Tony so we was very insulted by not trusting him and sent pictures of his military ID and a recent picture of him with a written sign ‘I’m real and I love you baby “ I tried to read his name on his jacket but it was a little blurry. My heart is aching feel like I am so naive to believe this is true but my stomach says I am being scammed.

  21. David Smith US Army needed $400 Google play card so he could contact his dying mother and his son, Max. His wife died giving birth. Of course I’m the bad guy for calling him out on his scam. He needs a wife and mother that will trust him and give him money. Even when he knows I’m a single mom with money problems and need house repairs. He wanted me to skip some payments on my bills to send him money. I offered to call myself and he won’t respond. He just tries to make me feel guilty for not sending the money. I ignore it and keep asking him his real name and where he really is. He says Syria.

  22. Has anyone heard of John Seastone?
    I’ve been talking to him for about 3 weeks now. He says that he is in Turkey and needs a Steam Card to talk to me.
    Can someone help me with this

  23. I’m pretty sure I am being catfished. I desperately want to find the real soldier. Is this normal?
    I met Brian Cotto on tinder about 2 months ago. We immediately began texting. He had all the right words to make me fall. He claimed to be a US Army soldier. He claimed that he’d be coming home soon so continued talking to him. He had been on a special GI Joe like mission for over a year and would never disclose where he was located. He claimed to have a 7 year old son, Mikey. He was widowed and had no living family besides his aunt in Lancaster, Texas. This aunt was supposedly taking care of Mikey. We only ever texted. He called once but I could not hear the voice clearly. It was high pitched and had a accent to it. I freaked and didn’t say much. And ended the call. He told me that the only way he could contact me was by putting me on a friends and family list for which he needed my full name and email. I gave him that info but was never contacted. When I questioned him weeks later as to why I had not been contacted he said he also needed my home address. I refused to give him that info. I always told myself if he ever brought up money that I’d be done. After a month and a half money came up. He claimed to have lost his credit card. He needed me to send money to his aunt for his son. I said I would drive to Lancaster to meet his aunt personally but of course he shut that idea down. I came up with excuses to not send the money. When I claimed to not have the money he began bring up a offshore account he had. He wanted to send me money to send to his child. And in turn send him money as an opportunity arose where he could come home sooner if he paid. I was definitely not going to involve myself in that. He has a profile on fb under his name with no activity. But I also found one under John Cotto. Same person but live totally different lives. So perhaps he’s the real soldier?!?! I had someone look his name up on the DOD under Brian . His name did not populate. His excuse was since he is on a special mission his records have been pulled. He claimed to live 4 miles away from me here in SAT. I insisted on him giving me an address. The address he gave me was nowhere near me. I even drove out to that address , which is an empty field. Of course he had an excuse for that as well. I have stopped responding to texts. This scammer has sent me so many pictures of “Brian” and his son which is frightening. Now this person has pics of me and my boys. I just want to find the real Cotto.

  24. After reading all these posts I am now certain this guy who claims too be a data agent analyst deployed in Afghanistan is scamming people unlucky for him he needs too remember what he writes at first he told me how his dad mum and daughter died in a plane crash then a year later his wife died but he lost everything paying medical bills but he was lucky that his dad helped him out with £10000 find that hard seeing as his dad passed away before his wife became ill. I continued chatting with him as I wanted too know who he really was despite a quick video call cos he claimed he was taking a risk doing this however his face did match photos he had sent but still wasn’t convinced he kept saying I needed too trust him so I played the game and boom suddenly get a message admin know about us I’ll be disconnected in 24 hours and that I need too apply to be a service member’s contact anyhow I asked how I do this and he gave me an email address so I did as instructed and did get a reply instructing me too send £225 too register lol the bank account was NatWest and account name just an ordinary woman’s name so I contacted NatWest too query the account and as I thought no account registered under that name nor did the sort code contain the bank’s reference number safe to say I twigged on and he never got any money.

  25. I have been talking to a guy by the name of Thomas Raymond. He said he is in the Marines and is in a camp in Nigeria Barrack but I just want to know if he is really himself and not someone else. He sent me pictures of himself and they look the same.

  26. Hi I meet this soilder man on Facebook he sent me pictures but he tells me hes not allowed to vedio call me. But never seen a picture of him in army uniform tells me he not allowed, he delete hes Facebook use different name hes in Nigeria.. keeps asking me for money just wanna know if I’m beening scammed. Tells me that the army dont support them like food,shelter,money. Tells me that I’m a army wife to him we never meet. hope you can help me thank you..

  27. I to have been in contact with Brian Cotto same exact story!I to was in search for answers that’s how I stumbled acrossed this blog . I’m currently still in contact with him. I’ve never sent money but it sure has came up with the excuse he needed to buy a calling plan on a satellite phone to call me. I to had met Brian on Tinder and immediately started texting. He also has a Instagram page. He stated he could not tell me his location due to the security risk but later he told me he trusted me and that he was located in the middle East.

  28. PPI have been contacted by three individuals all claiming to be samevman with different back stories all asking firvminet one do hecdiesntvget deployed crib Iraq wants £599, the other wants moneyvfir son and the other wants to havec£259 for airfare to uk.vivid wvthhey are fake but is onevifvrhem real ?all surname Anderson met on instagram andvfound ten othervaccoubts on this manscname usingvall his pictures I’m confusedcas I. Love the firsyvone ivecspikevti

  29. Hey I’ve been trying to figure out if this guy is real or not he has sent a ton of pics and says he’s a commander in the army over seas he’s never asked for money but I just want to be safe than sorry his name is william george

  30. I met this guy on bn pof he says his here in Cali barstow but can only text cant make any calls or video chats live. He has not asked me for any money. But not being able to talk to him has me doubt him especially because he says he has an polish accent. He has send me pictures and videos but no voice just music in the background.

  31. I know my gut is right on if they email you don’t they need to use .mil and would also need not suscribe using a google play card to chat?

  32. Why do people catfish I’m sure this is what has happened he want to video chat, but says need to download a google play card of course I said all set on my end then he asked me for the info. Never sent because I never got the card.

  33. Hello
    I met a guy in the us army on Instagram a month ago he says he is ssg Jason A SCOTT he says he’s from Austin TEXAS and
    That he has a little girl her name is Dakota he says his wife died from cancer and he met her in a fashion show in San Diego’s he says he is on deployment that he’s been in Afghanistan for 3 months and he’s coming back to the states soon and that he’s in love with me that he wants to retire and settle down I told him I was married and that I am not happy he says he wants to take care of me and that he would live anywhere I want to live he says he cares about me and that he loves me he asked me for my cell number and I gave it to him he text me everyday sometimes late at night he has sent me pictures of him in the desert with the guys I’ve seen him in uniform army Jeep the tent were he sleeps he calls me babe angel and etc etc he seems very caring romantic wonderful guy and I have seen his license and his army tag how do I know that he isn’t fake he hasn’t asked for money or anything how do I know his pictures are not fake he has stolen my heart

    • Hi Patti,

      This is a scam. He’s currently trying the same thing with my neighbour. He said the Taliban knocked him out and stole his gun and he needs money for a replacement. I just want to track down the real guy in the photos to tell him what’s going on.

  34. How do you find the real identity of the person in the pictures you’ve been sent during a Catfish. The person is obviously real, and I am hoping to notify them that their face, their pics, and their family are being sent and used in a Military Romance Scam.

  35. Hi, I met Genera Craig D. Mills U.S. Air Force on a dating app. Vidmora. He says he is in Kabul and retiring next mo. and wants to find his “soul mate”. He is saying all the right things and quickly he told me he loved me. He has not asked for any money, but last night he was really pushing for info on what kind of car I drive and needed pics of it. This worries me. He said he caught his wife cheating on him with a good friend 5 yrs ago, but I have seen pics on Air Force official pics with his wife dated within the last 1 or so. He says he can’t video chat because of an attack on “Camp” and cell phone are prohibited now, and we can not even talk on the phone, only Google hangouts. How can I tell if he is the “Real General Craig D. Mills?”

  36. A certain David Macher has been in boxing me, says he is on peace keeping mission in Iraq. Hasn’t asked for money yet but I’m suspicious. He says his Facebook and Instagram account was hacked.

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