Imagine going onto a dating app and meeting someone online that you really connect with. You talk to this same person for a year and get to know more and more about them as you start to fall in love with them. As you get to know them they make excuses as to why they can’t video chat with you or meet you in person, and it’s usually because they are on leave. You think to yourself it’s ok I’ll meet my true love soon. Then suddenly, they constantly start to end up in emergency situations where they need your constant help financially to get out of them. Your bank account starts to drain, and you wonder if you can even afford to stay in the relationship you’re currently in. These are just some of the top signs that you are suffering from a military romance scam.
If this truly sounds like you, then you aren’t alone. Millions of people fall for a romance scam each day as scammers rack in millions of dollars just by stealing photos of innocent military men and pretending to be them. Each day, more and more women find out that their prince charming is actually a Nigerian romance scammer, which leads them to want to share their stories with an audience. They know that the more people know about their stories and are educated about romance scams, the more people will know how to avoid military romance scams once they see the signs. Here are some military scam stories from women we have interviewed in the past.
Top 5 Military Romance Scam Stories
#5: Lea Peterson
We interviewed Lea Peterson, an ex-intelligence officer, who was married to her husband Paul, an active duty service member. He passed away while he was active duty from cancer 5 years ago. In January of this year, she decided she was ready to start looking for some companionship, some friendship, somebody to hold hands with. So the only thing she could figure out was to go online to a dating site. She ended up on OkCupid and that started the whole “fun time” of dealing with an OkCupid scam.
He was able to fool this ex-intelligence officer by faking a $3 million balance in his bank account. She thought that since he had the money in his bank account, it was okay to lend him a bunch of money because eventually, she would get it back. She would get emails about the supposed money he needed for his job and then pay him the amounts of money to his bank account. Every time she thought she sent enough money, she would get asked for even more money for customs fees, pay port fees, and she fell for all of it, draining her bank account.
#4 Stephanie O’Neil
Stephanie O’Neil is a woman from New York who was talking to a man she met on Instagram. They built a year-long relationship online, where he scammed her out of $200k. She had fallen deeply in love with him during this relationship to the point where she was planning her wedding with the scammer. They had picked out their wedding colors, she picked out her dress, and he even picked out the ring and sent her pictures of it.
The catfish victim caught on when she was familiar with military rules and something he said just didn’t make sense to her. He told her that he needed help paying for a weapon he lost, but she knew that you don’t have to pay for your weapon. She told him that its either one he gets in trouble depending on your rank and you’ll get extra duty or two you’re gonna get discharged. Unless you’re negligent, you don’t have to pay for your weapon. She accused him of lying to her, but he tried to reassure her that he would never lie to her.
She then tried to ask him about Article 15, which states that a commanding officer has the power to punish individuals for minor offenses committed. “Minor offenses” do not usually include misconduct. If misconduct were tried by a general court-martial, then it could be punished by dishonorable discharge or confinement for more than one year. Since he did not know what Article 15 was and saw the real guy’s photo on a military fiancee Facebook group as a photo most used by scammers, she knew he was fake.
Christine from Pennsylvania was talking to a guy named David Porter on Mingle 2 who said he was in the Army and was stationed in Nigeria. This Nigerian romance scammer had scammed her for months before finally admitting that he was a scammer who had taken advantage of her bank account.
She had dealt with many toxic relationships and found comfort in the sweet things the romance scammer would say to her. She was also lured in by his good looks and military background, thinking that it was sexy and badass that he knew how to use a sniper. The Nigerian romance scammer felt guilty for his actions, and came clean to Christine that he had been scamming her. He admitted that he wasn’t the guy in the pictures but that he still loved her and wanted her to stay with him. He had stolen $7,000 from her at this point. She told him she hated him and never spoke to him again.
#2 Judy Vaughn
Judy Vaughn was a woman from South Carolina who was in an online relationship with a guy named James Hackett. She met him on POF after her husband of 38 years passed away. He claimed to be a military man stationed in Afghanistan and talked to him for three years. However, something seemed off to her… he was constantly asking her for money! At one point she was sending him all of her disability and social security checks so that he could save up to come back home. The question kept ringing in her head: was he telling the truth, or is he really a scammer?
Our search specialist, Linnie, was able to answer this question from her by running an in-depth search on James. She found out that his actual location was in Lagos, Nigeria, and that the same picture was used to create thousands of fake profiles. She also thought it was odd that he was asking for money for leave and food when the military pays for these things for you. If you’re in the military and they want you fed and to go somewhere, they will pay for it themselves. They won’t ask you to pay for anything. This went to prove that Judy was actually talking to a scammer.
And the #1 Military Romance Scam Story… Betty Jean
In this heartbreaking story, we talked to Betty Jean who was going through a rough time after being scammed. She asked her friends and family for money and had sold her car and house to pay the romance scammer, thinking that it was true love and that he would buy her a nicer car and house. However, after she lost everything she started to realize that he was most likely a Nigerian romance scammer.
For the last 3-4 months, she keeps trying to tell him how she knows he’s a romance scammer but denies it every single time, saying he still loves her. Because she sold her house to give the scammer money, she currently lives in a tent. She became super depressed because of this situation and has even tried to overdose. The doctors had to prescribe her with anti-depressant medication.
She met someone else online and has been able to video chat with him on a daily basis. She has told him about her past with being scammed, and he reassures her he would never do that to her. He has not asked for money yet, and she doesn’t think he ever will.
Social Catfish is Here to Help You With Your Military Romance Scam Story!
If you think you’re dealing with a scammer or have had your pictures stolen, Social Catfish is here to help you!
If you want to be a part of our next YouTube video or blog post and share your story, now is your chance. You can educate our audience about what you have gone through and make sure no one else goes through the same thing. All you need to do is email ShareMyStory@socialcatfish.com, and we will get back to you with more details.
You can also reverse search any information you have on the Nigerian romance scammer to see who it is you’ve really been talking to. If you have their name, email address, phone number, social media username, or image you can search it up in our search bar to see if there is more information on the suspected scammer you are talking to.