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Fake Service Member Fleeces Unsuspecting Woman

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

How can I find out if a person is actually in the military? My girlfriend met a guy on Facebook, and he's been asking her for money that he says he needs so he can afford to retire.

He says he's in the military and is in Libya on a secret mission. He even had her start two bank accounts for him and now they're overdrawn and she's more than $8,000 in the hole.

I've tried to tell her it's a scam lots of times, but she's not believing it. I have to find a way to prove to her it's really a scam.

Scam Sleuth

Dear Sleuth,

Oh my God! Tell your girlfriend to send me the money! I'm legit, and I can actually donate the money to a very reputable charity.

This is a scam! Are you telling me these overdrawn checking accounts are in your girlfriend's name? My question is, why is she involved with this man and why is she so hell-bent on having a relationship with him? These are questions you should be asking yourself because it sounds like she is involved, at least emotionally, with a man she has never met.

I wish I could get $5 for every letter like yours because I would be independently wealthy. People write to me with embarrassment and shame because their accounts have been wiped out and their homes vandalized because they give so much of their personal information to these criminals.

American service members don't write people asking for money to retire, or for any of the other reasons people have written to me about. Service members who are on secret missions don't announce that they're on secret missions.

Hopefully, you can convince your girlfriend to cut off all communication with this person. Her life could be in danger.

Thank you for writing to me,
Ms. Vicki

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Ms. Vicki, a native of Dallas, has been the ‘Dear Abby’ for the military community since her column began in 2005. A licensed therapist and licensed clinical social worker, Ms. Vicki holds a Master of Science in social work and a Master of Arts in clinical psychology. Her column has appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Ms. Vicki has retired from writing new columns for Although Ms. Vicki is no longer offering new advice on, you can still email military benefits questions to our Questions and Benefits team. Need military spouse career help? Email our Dear Career writers.