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Scam Advice on So-Called Military Men Met Online

Ms. Vicki

I wish I had a thousand dollars for every letter I receive from women asking about the suspicious men they are chatting with, emailing, hoping to meet soon, or engaged to marry.

These scam artists are ruthless criminals who operate like a well-orchestrated army. They start out nice, charming and attentive, then they steal the women's hearts and their money.

If you are corresponding with someone like this, you should cease all contact immediately. I have heard from women who have had their identities stolen, bank accounts wiped out, and homes burglarized. This is serious!

Many of the letters I get from women contain similar claims, including:

  1. He says he is a U.S. service member.
  2. He says he cannot tell you exactly where he is stationed, typically somewhere in Iraq, Afghanistan, Africa or Russia .
  3. He says he needs money for a cell phone or a cell phone card because he wants to communicate with you.
  4. He says he needs money so that he can come home to see you.
  5. He says he needs money so that he can leave the military for good.
  6. He claims to have a sick grandmother who needs help, or that his children need money.
  7. He says he can't access his money right now because he is deployed.
  8. You have to email, call and correspond to his commanding officers

Read these recent letters I received to see for yourself:

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I really need your help. I am dating a man I met on the Tagged dating site. His name is Sgt. Nelson Martinez, he is a U.S Marine, and he is deployed to Afghanistan.

He told me that he wants to come and meet me, but in order for him to get leave, he needs to pay about $13,000. He said that they are on contract with the United Nations and NATO, that's why getting leave is not easy for him. He told me that he has been in Afghanistan for three years now, on a contract mission with the U.N. and NATO. Before he can get leave, he said he has to get many documents from the U.N. and NATO. He said that one of his friends has agreed to help him with $3,000.

All of this sounds strange to me. I want to know truth about leave procedure and about them needing to pay money to come home. He told me that he has money in the U.S., but that he can't access it while he is deployed. It this information is true or not?

Thank you so much!
Confused

Dear Ms. Vicki,

Hi! I really need your help. I met a lieutenant in the Army on Badoo. We have been texting since July. His name is Lt. Nick Marshall; he is in Nigeria. He asked me to send him a cellphone and I did. Now he has asked me to send him $50. He said his commander is having issues with food and none of them have eaten in days. He told me when he comes back home he wants to marry me. I will appreciate if you help me.

Sincerely,
Questions

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have a fiancé named Joshua Robert Pennington who is in the U.S. military and I'm supposed to marry him. I asked him for an email address for his commanding officer. The email address he gave me was brgpatrickmuller@gmail.com. I emailed his commanding officer to ask for a leave of absence for my fiancé so that we can get married. His commanding officer has approved the leave of absence, but says that I have to send money so that my fiancé can leave. Does this sound right to you?

Sincerely,
In Love

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I have been speaking to a man who claims to be in the U.S Army. I have his email address and his messenger ID. He says he is serving in Afghanistan and is supposed to leave soon. He hasn't asked me for money. He was supposed to have left on Friday, but he messaged me saying there has been more trouble and the Army will not fly him out until it calms down.

He messages me most days, but sometimes he doesn't and he says it is because there has been trouble and he has had to go on a long patrol. I know there have been problems with the Taliban recently. Do you think he could be real? Is there anything I could ask him that would prove that he is real? Is there any way I can check to see if he is really a soldier?

Sincerely,
Not Sure

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Contributor

Ms. Vicki is 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.

Ms. Vicki appears regularly on Military.com and in the Fort Campbell Courier. Her column has also appeared in the Washington (D.C.) Times and in the Heidelberg (Germany) Post Herald. She has been featured on CNN, CBS, ABC and NBC.

Looking for advice about your military life? Email Ms. Vicki here. Find Ms. Vicki on Facebook here.  Find Ms. Vicki on Twitter here.

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