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Soldier Can't Retire Until I Pay Off His Debts?

Ms. Vicki

Dear Ms. Vicki,

I met a soldier online. He was in Africa at the time. We have been communicating for one year now.

He went from Africa to Malaysia, from there back to the States. We talked through Facebook. We've really become close. As a matter of fact, I love him. I truly believe he loves me. 

I've seen pictures of him with his name showing on his uniform. He has pictures of me. I even have pictures of his son. He's supposed to be ready to retire.  

But he owes money to other soldiers. He says that he can't leave service until he pays that debt off. He's got all of his paperwork; they just won't let him go anywhere until he pays that debt back to his soldiers. 

Also, he claims that he has no access to his bank account. I know he's being paid monthly. Throughout the year, I have assisted him with his finances.

I just have this strong feeling that he's not telling me everything. He says he's in Fort Drum, N.Y., at the present time. I even tried to find him through the worldwide Army locator. I needed his Social Security number, which he would not give me.  

We're planning to be married as soon as I pay off his debts. He says the Army will buy his ticket. I believe him, but some things just don't add up. 

Fiancé I Have Never Met

Dear Fiancé,

I hope I’m not too late to stop you from making a terrible mistake. Don’t pass Go!! Scam alert!!

Please leave this guy alone and don’t try to find him. He is not a service member, he’s a scam artist and has probably already received thousands of dollars from other women.

Honestly, you may not even be communicating with a man. Who knows? These people are like a well regimented army, and they use whatever tactics they can to steal from women who fall in love with them and then feel sorry for them because they need money to come home for leave, to come home for good or to pay off their debts. They are scum bags.

Other women have reported to me their bank accounts have been wiped out! Their homes vandalized! They have put their very lives in danger! Please don’t communicate with him again. This is very important.

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.