How to Avoid Online Dating Military Scams
Don’t you just love a man in uniform? It’s more than just how it shows off those shoulders, it’s the perfect vision of a strong, hard working man. What makes a man in uniform even better is that he’s gay and madly in love with you. With just one tiny, tiny problem: he needs cash. He has nowhere else to turn.
Before we get into specifics here, this is a must know: If someone on an online dating site asks you for money, DON’T send him anything, and report the profile at once as someone who’s engaging in military dating scams.
That tip isn’t as easy as it sounds. Like in all romance and dating scams, the scammer targets your heart before your wallet. They want you to ask, “What if it’s true? What if the man I love really needs my help?
How Do Military Scams in Online Dating Work?
These particular scammers, using military dating scams, know that military uniform and a crew cut can be the fastest way to a gay man’s heart. So the first thing a scammer does is he scours military profiles online and downloads photos and basic information. He doesn’t mind whose profile he uses...a soldier doesn’t even need to be alive for the scam to work.
He often takes the soldier’s last name, and tags on a generic first name. With that, he can use one set of photos and basic information to develop multiple profiles on social media and dating sites. This is why it is essential to use an online dating site that puts your security at the forefront of their program. An example of this is Zoosk. This online dating site has a photo verification system that allows their members to obtain a “Photo Verified” badge for their online dating profiles. Once a Zoosk account holder uploads a selfie video to a Zoosk server for review, said member can prominently display to other users that their profile picture is an accurate representation of himself.
The Beginning of a True Love Story
It starts, like all romantic dating scams do, with casual chatting. He’s an advocate for animal rights, just like you! There’s that one issue of a dog who starved to death while his owner was away… terrible, right? You feel like it’s a match from heaven, I mean what are the chances he would bring this up? But being a skilled scammer, a con artist, he knows that you shared that article on your Facebook page some time ago; and is using it to sweep you off your feet…
Within a week he’s madly in love with you, and it’s obviously mutual. That uniform, you know. And those eyes. And he loves animals. You just have so many things in common.
After a while, he tells you that chatting isn’t enough. He needs to hear your voice over the phone, but there’s just one problem - you need to ask his commander to let him speak to you. Simple enough, right? Just pay this processing fee to email the commander, and you’re all good.
So you pay it, it’s just a small fee. Then you wait a couple of days. Your love said he’d be out of contact for a few days on a mission, so you can’t talk to him yet. You wait a week. Longer. After a while, it sinks in...Your military man was, in fact, a military dating scammer.
The Long Distance Relationship: Taking Advantage of a Good Soul
We’ ve so far described a relatively short-term scam. Harder to take are those which spin out over many months, sometimes even years. In these long distance relationships, the scammer almost always has a charming female relative whom he loves very much.
After you practically decided to live together for the rest of your lives, a bomb drops on him. Something happens to his daughter or sister. A car crash, cancer. He isn’t prepared, and he can’t access any funds yet. He’s in a financial crisis but he promises to pay you back as soon as he can! It’s the least you can do for the man you love, a man that is protecting your country.
After you send the money, it’s the waiting game, the part where the scammer gets away while you bite your nails down to the quick, waiting for word of her recovery.
And you wait and wait…
How To Make Sure It Doesn’t Happen To You
You may think that these stories are too far fetched and they could never happen to you. Unfortunately, they happen all the time and there are some precautions you can take:,
When it comes to your privacy and romance, use a reputable online dating website that makes security a priority. match.com is a perfect example. Not all dating sites do this, but Match is known for running background checks on their new members. Second, run his profile image through a search engine. Google Images helps a lot since you can upload an image and it will pull out similar ones. Because military scammers use multiple sets of profiles and usually one last name, it is easy to find scammers. If a number of similar images are attached to different social media and dating profiles, then it’s a scammer for sure.
You could also contact the military CID and ask them to check on a soldier’s “alive and kicking” status. Research what a soldier may or may not do when he is deployed. Can he Skype or video chat? How is his internet connection? Is he allowed to phone? Can he tell you where he is, or where he lives?
So, if your online date is from the military, keep your subconscious from overwhelming you with positive emotions. Use your common sense and intuition and just ask questions that will minimize the chance that your partner is a fraud. Like with any other online date, go ahead and check to make sure that they are who they say they are. You owe it to yourself.