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Many men and women bravely serve the United States Armed Forces, today and in years gone by. However, that is a growing and troubling phenomenon of people who have never served in the military claiming that they are veterans or that they are currently active duty military. The term used for this type of duplicitous and despicable practice is called stolen valor. People do this for many reasons, none of which are honorable in the least.
Why Are People Impersonating Members of the Military?
Let’s look at some of the reasons there seem to be more and more people today pretending that they were or are in the military. One of the reasons is because it tends to put people at ease when they are dealing with someone from the military who is in uniform. People expect them to be honest, so when someone says they are collecting money for a charity, for example, people are more likely to donate. Of course, with these impersonators, the only place that money is going is into their pocket.
Some people are looking for discounts, and they will even go so far as to create fraudulent military ID cards. They use these cards to help with other types of scams, as well.
There are others who set out to meet people online, supposedly for the purpose of looking for a romance. They speak with the other party over the web, and then they start to tell their sob story, talking about how they aren’t going to be able to make it home for leave or that they need to have some money to get out of a bad situation because they haven’t been paid yet.
ArmyWife101.com offers information on this type of military catfishing to help people stay safe when they are dealing with supposed service members on the Internet. It is important to verify everything, and never send money to someone who claims they need it to get home from a combat zone. The military pays for this transportation.
How Can You Tell the Imposters Apart?
Sometimes, these military imposters are not just online. Sometimes you will see them in person. They might be at a parade, walking through a store, or asking for donations for a “charity”, for example. Maybe they are sitting next to you in a bar and they start talking. How do you know who is telling the truth?
There are several things you can look for and listen for to help identify imposters, according to some information collected by experts on Military1.com. First, you can listen for the way they speak. Do they know the correct terminology and jargon for their branch of service and their rating or job in the service?
Do they know the right bases, forts, or camps that they should know based on the stories they are trying to tell? Do they claim to be in military intelligence or Special Forces? Do they understand rank? Do the medals and awards they are wearing add up for their service? Are they wearing the uniform correctly?
Many people in the military can spot the fakes without too much trouble. However, civilians do not always have the knowledge needed. Always be careful and verify any stories that sound fishy.