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Clues (blog)

Are you dating a soldier or a scam artist?

It's not every day that the Army Criminal Investigation
unit offers an alert to women looking for a date --
so you might wanna listen up, ladies ... Not all men
in Army gear can be trusted; camouflage be damned.

Turns out, women in Manhattan, its boroughs and beyond
who use online dating sites need to be on high alert
for men who claim to be American soldiers.

ExecutiveGov.com is reporting that thieves are using
the real names of real soldiers in real Army ranks to
create fake online dating profiles. The fraudsters often
pretend to be U.S. servicemen and sometimes say they are
serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. These men then use their new
identities to request money for laptops, phones and other
items. Some of them, allegedly, have requested immediate
funds to purchase "leave papers" or flights home so that
they can leave the war zone.

If you're on an online dating site and your prospective date
asks you to send money to a third-party address, he's
probably not a solider. And honestly, if he's asking for
any kinda money, isn't that a code red?

Actually verifying you're dating a soldier is extremely
convoluted. Hands down, the best resource on this is
a book called How to Locate Anyone Who Is or Has Been
in the Military. It was written by a father-daughter duo,
Lt. Col. Richard S. Johnson and Debra Johnson Cox. Sadly,
much of the information is now outdated but links on
Debra's website, MilitaryUSA, can lead to a wealth of information.

In a pinch, if you think you're a victim of a fake
soldier scam, your best bet is to contact the
Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-ID-THEFT.

If you're simply not sure, you could always
While these message boards are more of a Dear Abby than Dear
Attorney General, they're a good place for feedback from
women who have a better understanding of what dating a
solider is all about.

If you are truly enamored of Army life and want to help a

At ease, ladies. Simply dismiss the lad and move on.
Go wait outside West Point -- you're more likely to find a
young, legitimate chap there. And have you seen those
soldiers? They make that whole red, white and blue theme
ring true.