I Love You – Send Money

| June 23, 2020

Although it was last month, the Virginia Pilot-Online published an excellent article about online dating scams involving unsuspecting members of the military.

No, this Virginia Beach sailor doesn’t want your love or money. It’s a scam, and he’s a victim too

VIRGINIA BEACH — Up to 10 times a day, Mike Sency’s phone pings with a message from someone angry he stole their money or abandoned their online romance.

“How dare you to ever tell me you love me,” read one recent Facebook message he received, explaining his actions had made the sender feel “completely empty inside.”

“I can’t believe your (sic) going to play dumb.”

But Sency, a petty officer 1st class stationed in Virginia Beach, has never met or even communicated with any of these people before.


It works like this: a scammer takes photos of someone like Sency, creates a fake social media account and develops a new online persona — sometimes using the real name of the person in the photo. Then the scammer will strike up online conversations with women around the world, many of them older or vulnerable, and pretend to be in a hard spot.

“They like to use this sob story of, ‘I’m deployed to some austere land and my wife and kid have left me … My unit left me and I’m stuck in this country. I need money for the flight home,’ ” Sency said. “Which makes no sense if you know anything about the military.”

The scammers often continue these digital romances over long stretches of time, gaining the victim’s trust and prying out more money. Sometimes they solicit risque photographs and use them as blackmail.

Such online scams are known as “catfishing,” and can be used for financial gain or abuse, among other things.

The U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command receives hundreds of reports a month from victims who have been tricked by people impersonating a soldier online, according to its website.

We can attest to the uptick in these scams.

It is common to snag photos of real active-duty military, then either pick a common name such as Johnson, Rodriguez, or Smith, blur out the nametag or make the photo unreadable, and pass the photos off as someone looking for love.

This is probably what he actually looks like…

They don’t usually say they are Navy SEALs, Army Rangers, or Marine Recon – just simply a regular guy trying to do his part in the military.

The only deviation we have found from the above article is that it is common to say they are a widower with a 9-12 y/o child, versus a divorcee.  I’m guessing being a widower says “through no fault of my own I am without a significant other.”

They say they are in Iran, Yemen or some odd place and eventually want money to come home to visit their child and/or swing by to visit the person sending the money.

I could be wrong, but I have a vivid picture of a weekly seminar being taught in a warehouse in Somalia on how to do this – since it is all remarkedly similar.  It is probably titled “So You Want to be a Scammer?”



Category: Phony soldiers

Comments (19)

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  1. jarhead says:

    Looks suspiciously like someone from the movie Planet of The Lars.

  2. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    I know a lot of women don’t like to live alone, and as a consequence they are always looking for that special someone…but ladies…c’mon.

    You gotta know if he needs your money to get by he’s a turd plain and simple.

    A love interest should not cost you thousands of dollars…

    Maybe I’m too old and thus too old school, but a guy needing his woman’s money to get by ain’t much of a man where I’m from…men are expected to be independent and able to care for themselves.

    • 5th/77th FA says:

      Spot on VOV. Sadly it’s the easiest scam in the world and fakebook is full of catfishers AND their prey. Didn’t really know the term until this article. When I was lurking around on baby sister’s page I saw literally dozens of nice looking gals that I could of had my way with if I was a mind to. A number had been scammed before and would still fall for the bullsh^t.

      Considered a second career as a catfisher myself, but then that whole morals and proper upbringing thing got in the way. 😛

      • Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

        Indeed had I no conscience there are several fields of endeavor more lucrative than the path I chose…none of them illegal either…

        However we do have to look at ourselves in the mirror occasionally and the reflection we see will depend on whether or not we’ve compromised our integrity and decency by taking advantage of others…

        Some don’t seem to mind such reflections.

        The rest of us would not forgive ourselves for such things.

    • RGR 4-78 says:

      “You gotta know if he needs your money to get by he’s a turd plain and simple.

      A love interest should not cost you thousands of dollars…

      Maybe I’m too old and thus too old school, but a guy needing his woman’s money to get by ain’t much of a man where I’m from…men are expected to be independent and able to care for themselves.”

      If online dating sites and messaging sites would make this a daily required read and accept for use of their sites, it might get through to some of the gullible.


  3. Green Thumb says:

    I wonder if any of these scammer calls originate at All-Points Logistics in Merritt Island, FL?

  4. Keepin' It Real says:

    Years ago, my command made us attend mandatory training on internet scams.

    When they had the section on “Catfishing” they showed a beautiful Asian girl and said the person you see is usually not the person behind the profile. I immediately quipped out loud “Hey, that’s my girlfriend.”

    Several others joined in by claiming “No, that’s MY girlfriend.”

    It was hilarious.

  5. Daisy Cutter says:

    Just so we are clear:

    * A “Noodler” is someone who catches catfish by letting them try and swallow their hand/arm thinking it is a giant worm or fish.

    * A “Catfisher” is someone, as above, that puts out a false internet profile to lure unsuspecting people into a scam romance.

    * A Tequila “Fannybanger” is an alcoholic drink.

    * A “Bottomfeeder” is a slacker and someone that relies heavily upon friends, neighbors or anyone really for sustenance. Also can often be a member of Congress or the Senate.

    • David says:

      I always love the meme showing a fat guy resembling Ron Jeremy wearing a shirt which says “I’m the hot 14 year old you jacked off to in the chat room last night”

    • Ex-PH2 says:

      What’s the term for someone who just wants money and posts the equivalent of begging letter?

    • The only noodler I’m familiar with is Noodlers fountain pen ink which comes in different colors. One problem with noodlers is that if it is left in the pen too long, you have to wipe the inside of the pen with a little distilled water and bleach, and doesn’t dry fast on paper that is glossy. Sorry I went off topic as usual AGAIN and AGAIN. Am not on facebook and this is the only site I go on to add my comments plus the LBFD group me company which is in house for the members to chat and give a response for a call that they are responding to.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Because “I’m a fat neckbeard living in Mom’s basement” just doesn’t excite the babes… use your head, folks.

  7. SFC D says:

    Linkedin is now infested with “women” working similar scams. Single woman taking care of grandma, needs help with her phone bill or groceries etc. etc. Got a co-worker that created a fake account and trolls the shit out of them, it’s pretty awesome.

  8. Hack Stone says:

    Hack Stone doesn’t want to live in a world where some miscreant can take a photo off of the Internet, set up a fake Facebook profile, and troll people. Don’t these people have better things to do with their time? Now, if you will excuse Hack, he as has an 11:00 meeting with the Board Of Directors to launch the Y3K Software Campaign.

  9. Hack Stone says:

    Someone once asked Hack Stone what is the International Date Line. Hack Stone responded with “Baby, you’re the ichiest!”

  10. Ex-PH2 says:

    Dear Whosiwhatsis,

    I’d love to come home, but I’m stuck here in Smellialand because the Pirates of the Red Sea haven’t gotten the money I asked you to send to me. What’s going on? The facilities here are not the best and there are clouds of flies in the food. Could you please send me enough money to escape from this?
    Your boy Jesse

    Dear Jesse

    Sorry, sweetie, but the ransom pig is down to the nubs right now because we had to pay the utility bills, the HO and auto insurance, and put new screens on the windows.
    Hang in there, kiddo. Some day, we might be able to find a dollar or two under the dishwasher.
    Ooops! Gotta go! Porch pirates just dropped off another bicycle they stole.


    • jarhead says:

      Dear Gammy

      What is wrong with you? Here you go again defending and whitewashing those evil Pirates of the Red Sea. Have you no shame? I used to respect you when you fed me those twenty dollar bills and the wonderful recipes you included. But not now that you have shown your razzist attitude. Just because of you I am going to quit (at least for a while) posting on TAH. I’ll show you! In fact I’ll find another site where I can depend on people to love me and agree with all I post. Probably my lovely LGBT friends will be my next home. Thank you for nuttiin’.


  11. 11B-Mailclerk says:

    Folks say it is too harsh to make fraud a capital crime.

    I disagree. Doing so solves -far- more problems.