Fake Military Heroes Guilty of Stolen Valor

The Pretender -- Stolen Valor and How to Expose the Fakers

In 2006, former President George W. Bush signed into law the Stolen Valor Act of 2005, which makes it illegal for anyone to steal the valor of the real heroes. Here's the Wikipedia link about this law: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stolen_Valor_Act_of_2005

In addition, as I searched the Internet for details about stolen valor, I found the website for the book, "Stolen Valor", with some disturbing stats. Did you know that there are more FAKE military heroes than real ones alive today? If you have someone you suspect of being a fake soldier -- read on and you will have information on how to find out if he/she is in fact a real hero or a fake soldier.

During my research on stolen valor, I heard horror stories of fake soldiers who have proudly told their friends, neighbors and family members what a hero he/she was. It is so hard to believe anyone could actually stoop that low! They were so believable with their lies! Mainly because he/she gave so many gory details -- the bigger the lies, the more believable he/she becomes. They are experts at lying! They love pretending to be a war hero and they go into great details with everyone they meet! In addition, if he/she can pretend to be a fake military hero, you can bank on it that he/she has lied about many other facets of their make believe life!

The Baby Boomers I have heard from say that the person they were with was so convincing that It was hard to accept the fact that the person he/she lived with for years had lied, not only about being a war hero, but about the minute details of the fake tours overseas. These fake soldiers are accurately called cowards, soldier wannabes and scumbags. They were not brave enough to be a soldier, much less a war hero, so they pretended to be the thing that they could not do. Some have lived this lie for so long they actually act as if they were a soldier now, in their 50's and 60's. True psychopaths! Sad, isn't it?

After searching the Internet, I finally located a wonderful educational, non-profit website that everyone should bookmark called the POW Network (http://www.pownetwork.org/ ) . Click on the appropriate link for Heroes or Villains, then click on the last name initial to pull up the list of the fake soldiers.

Please, if you hear of someone pretending to be a Vet, report him/her at the above site. It is now illegal to pretend to be a military hero! You can also check the status on Vietnam POW's and MIA's at this site as well. The wonderful couple who started this website deserve all of the support we can give them! They have invested a lot of time and money to help identify MIA's from the Vietnam War and provide a website that serves as a clearinghouse for everyone wanting to report a stolen valor incident.

Be sure to take photos of the fake soldier you've encountered and send those in with whatever other proof you have been able to obtain to expose him/her as the faker he/she is. Maybe we can prevent others from being victimized as well, especially the elderly and the handicapped. Just remember if he/she lies about being a soldier and a war hero, you cannot believe anything else he/she has told you about his/her work history, education, marriages, etc.

Another important thing I learned through my research is that anyone can request a copy of another person's military records. Just print the form 180 found at the National Personnel Records Center, fill it out with as much information as you can gather and send it to the address on the form. If you are able to provide them with a full name, date of birth, place of birth, social security number, dates he/she gave for being in the military and the cities he/she gave as their home towns, it will help the NPRC confirm that he/she has or has never been in the military. Be sure to add on the form that you are requesting this information under the FOIA (Freedom of Information Act). Within weeks you will have the information you have requested or you will receive a letter, stating that after an extensive search they could not locate a military record for the person you requested it on. Here is the link to get the FOIA form:


Believe me, I am not a computer expert; however, I have learned how to search for and find almost everything on the Internet. No matter what you are searching for, start with your computer search engine (Google, Yahoo, etc.), enter the person's name that you are searching for information on, then scroll through each link to see if it is what you are looking for. You may have to go through a dozen screens or more to locate crucial information on anyone, especially if the person has moved around a lot over a long period of time. Do not give up after the first couple of screens! Since the faker may be using variations of his/her name, sometimes it is better to use only the last name.

One of my searches brought me to the Hub Pages, so, thanks to each of my fellow Hub writers for offering up information for the public. It helped me considerably in my search for data. Knowledge is a powerful tool, especially when you are battling with a con man! Good luck to each of you in your search for truth and justice!

Remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure (an adage I heard when I was a kid and did not fully understand until I was hurt the first time). It is best to be safe, not sorry, when you meet someone new. Always check the person out by doing web searches, by meeting and talking to his family and friends, ask as many questions as possible, especially when he isn't with you, to see if his answers match their answers. Ask him if he would object to you running a credit report on him. Just explain to him that you've been burned before and you no longer date anyone without checking them out. If he takes offense, he may have something to hide, so say goodbye immediately. It is sad that we have to become investigators; however, it is much better to do these things BEFORE you fall in love with the person you think he/she is, don't you agree?

By the way, one more rampant con going on now that you need to be aware of! Fake soldiers are stealing photos on line of deceased soldiers. Then setting up accounts using these real heroes pictures at the social web sites like Facebook, My Space and online dating sites. Then they begin sending friend requests to single women who respond to their request. You can read more about these scams by reading another hub I've written on this topic (which also includes links on this growing problem) and by doing a search for fake soldiers. These crooks play on the women's emotions and eventually get these women to send them thousands of dollars for everything imaginable.

Any tips for others? Please post them here. Stay safe and stay leery of everything that sounds too good to be true -- it usually is! Happy searching!

UPDATE on Stolen Valor Act of 2005:

See link below to read the conflicting decisions made by the Supreme Court. Here's hoping they will reverse the decision conflicting with the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.

Comments 31 comments

Tess 6 years ago

I would like to report someone- but he is pretending to be in the Royal British Marines- my brother is on his 2nd tour in Iraq and it disugusts me that this man goes around posing as a marine, saying he has been to Afghanistan, etc. just to seduce women an con women into supporting him and being "generous" with him. He even has his profile on facebook, tagged and Hi5 with pictures and more pretending to be in the military.... how can I report him? Thanks- please respond to sicilianangel7@yahoo.com

Banshee 6 years ago

I know a guy who claims to be a Vietnam Veteran. Says he jumped (airborne} on every mission he was on in Vietnam, at NIGHT!!! Claims to have been wounded twice, second purple heart was a star attached to the first purple heart. Wrong, second one would have given him an oak leaf cluster. Claims to have been in the 100th Infantry in Nam. The 100th. Infantry Division was in WW11 not in Vietnam at all. It has been at Fort Knox, Kentucky since World War 2.

Baby Boomers Unite 5 years ago

Sorry for the delay in responding. First, Tess, if you have not been able to report this faker/wannabe, try going to the Royal British Marines website:


I'm not sure what the procedure is; however, you can probably contact them through their website to ask.

Good luck.

Second, Banshee,

I highly recommend that if you have the dates of his enlistment, the state he enlisted from, his social security number if you can get it and any other information you can get. Then go to the National Personnel Records website and follow their directions on requesting information through the Freedom of Information Act: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/ , citing FOIA as the reason for requesting the data.

Once you confirm that he is in fact lying about his military service go to the POW Network Organization's web site (www.pownetwork.org) and file a complaint.

Third, to Ciaren: I'm sorry you have been crucified for what you considered a harmless activity (dressing as an Army officer for a charity fundraiser). Unfortunately, ask a real Army hero or deceased Army heroes' family why this is NOT something anyone would approve of. Ask others who have been scammed by a fake soldier why they would not approve of anyone wearing an Army uniform IF they did not earn that right. After hearing their responses, I believe you will understand why President Bush passed the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. I am sorry for the scorn you have received; however, I must empathize with those individuals. Anyone pretending to be a war hero could be prosecuted -- much worse than the scorn you have received. I will agree with you that the organizer should have verified whether it was okay or not for you to dress up as a fake soldier before giving you the okay. And, when it was determined that it was not okay, you should have been told about this.

Why not check out the link above for the Stolen Valor Act and this may bring you some consolation. We have more fake war heroes than real ones -- that just isn't right! In this case pretending to be someone you are not is NOT the greatest form of flattery!

Check out the latest scam going on at Facebook and other social network sites: http://en-gb.facebook.com/note.php?note_id=1441890... Can you imagine the pain the deceased soldier's family goes through when they find that their son's picture has been "lifted" and is being used to find women to steal money from?!? Outrageous, isn't strong enough for this practice! Unfortunately, most of these crooks and fakers are from Nigeria or other third world country and next to impossible to catch or prosecute. However, I would love to see every single one of them prosecuted for being the scum of this earth that they are. Sorry, I know you meant no harm by your "make believe"; however, please understand the pain this could have caused a real soldier's family.

Our war heroes deserve to be recognized for the life threatening jobs they have done or are doing! They do NOT need others receiving their deserved honor and respect,as fake soldiers attempt to steal from them! May God bless our real war heroes!

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 5 years ago from East Coast Author

Here is a wonderful site for tips on how to avoid being a victim by fake soldiers sending out Facebook friend requests:


crabtree 5 years ago

I have a person on Facebook going around accusing people that where in the military with stolen valor. He accused me and then a friend. Funny thing is he has no idea what he is even talking about. He starts the conversation as "do you know the difference between Special Forces and Ranger?" If you say you do know the difference he goes on this rant how your lying about who you are and such when all you do is tell them you know the difference. Also asked me how I got a purple heart, when I informed him I had never been in combat he told me I had told him I had. I have friends that have died in war along with family, and for someone to accuse me of this act really upsets me. How do we stop these idiots, Now I cant get any help on DAV and other pages because this person has smeared me. I have screenshot the whole conversation and not once did I even hint at being any of these.

bill scott 5 years ago

a man i know at the local gym is claiming he "lost" his son in iraq.his son is still living.other than being shameful, could this be considered stolen valor?

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 5 years ago from East Coast Author

Crabtree: I truly don't know the answer here. IF you have never told anyone you've served in the military, I do not know why he would accuse you of lying about it. The burden of proof that you pretended to be a hero (stealing the valor from a real hero) is on him. However, you, too, should be be able to confront the DAV and other sites IF you are being discriminated against based on someone's info against you. I am not an attorney, so I cannot advise you of your rights or give you advice on what to do. You may want to seek legal advice, if you cannot afford an attorney, check with Legal Aid in your area. Good luck.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 5 years ago from East Coast Author

Bill Scott: I agree with you, it may not be illegal, but it is sad that he is saying that UNLESS he means he "lost" his son, the child, who went to Iraq and came back a scarred man because of the horrors that went on there. Or, maybe he is just mentally deranged. Whatever the reason, I don't know if there's really anything you can do. Too sad.

Stan Croff 4 years ago

While visiting the local VFW for a memorial dinner the Post Commander(?) Chatted with me and answered my questions about the facility and its events. AS we talked I learned I had worked for his brother for several years and was even his pall-bearer at his funeral. But the cinversation turned when he started explaining he was a veteran on the UDT teams prior to them becoming SEALs. How do I go about first, verifying his "credentials" or lack of. And then, reporting him to the VFW hierarchy?

eric 4 years ago

Vets should carry a copy of their DD214. Could settle an accuser down quickly. I look young for my age. Looked about twelve when in Nam 1969-70. So, the discharge papers are handy in case anyone doubts my stories or truth.

I have an a__hole father in law who is going to have a priest eulogize him as a Korean War vet when in actuality he was in a drunk driving accident before going overseas and was discharged at that time. Frustrating especially as we see 180 degrees out on politics. Bet he wishes he was a real veteran now. Must be painful inside. I hope for him

peggy 4 years ago

what should I do if someone on facebook made up several "fake" accounts and had the accounts saying they were Navy Officers. Our military works hard for us and I feel that this shouldn't be tolerated

bill scott 4 years ago

just an update from my post a few moths ago. now the man at the gym is claiming his son was killed in iraq not just lost. i found the son on facebook alive. apparantly the son was disgusted by the fathers deranged behavior and disowned him and the father is saying that he was killed instead of admitting the truth.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Stan: Because of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) anyone can request service records; however, you will need to provide information to get this information. I don't know if it will give you his "credentials" though, just a confirmation of his service dates in the military. But, if I were in your shoes, if you truly believe he is lying about his "credentials", ask him if he could bring in some of the documents and donate them to the VFW post. That way he won't be offended and not bringing them in won't prove anything; however, IF he can provide them, then he should be honored by having them professionally framed and hung in a prominent place at the club. Unless he is truly stealing the honor from a real Vet, there really isn't a lot you can do.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

lol Eric. Thank goodness the judging won't be left up to us, will it? I'm afraid there were many young men who were given the choice "jail or military" during the war years. Maybe the three things (politics, religion and sex) I was taught not to discuss applies here. Some people become way too vocal with their beliefs, trying to force others to believe the same thing, but, as we learned as children, we rebel! Good luck to you and just think, you don't have to live with him!

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Peggy, first, see if you can get this faker to provide you with his full name, where he lives, provide you photos, etc., without making him suspicious. Then, turn this information over to the authorities! See the links in my article above. I agree with you about these fakers should not be tolerated! I came across one myself and warned the women he had befriended; however, they obviously chose to believe he was he said he was. Do an Internet search for "online dating scams" or check out this site with information on this: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8704213/ns/technology_... I read recently that a large percentage of the online dating sites have both male and female fakers. They may not be pretending to be military, but they are pretending to be who they definitely aren't! Can you imagine finding out years from now that someone stole one of our photos off Facebook and posted it as their photo, their family photos, etc. Sickening! As the Internet evolves, I'm sure there will be easier ways for each of us to verify the person is who he/she says he/she is. Good luck!

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Bill Scott: That's sad on so many levels. First that the father and son are estranged. Life is too short and they are both suffering, although they won't admit. Denial is so much easier, isn't it? Wouldn't it be wonderful if somehow the two were brought back together? Since you located the son on FB, maybe you should print it out and give it to the man. Then ask him if this could possible be an impostor using his son's name, photos, etc. Or, write to the son and ask him questions about his father to see IF in fact he is the son. However, my advice is not to embarrass or cause the father any additional grief. I would try to forget about what you know and go along with the man's disillusions. Isn't that better than letting this eat at you and causing him additional pain? This is not a battle I would be willing to engage in. Take care.

Dona 4 years ago

I know of someone who "was" in the service. Honorably discharged. BUT he is a PX ranger if you will. He claims he was an E-7 in Special Forces when he discharged. That he had earned purple hearts and a bronze star (?) His stories ranged from making 1000 jumps, to getting cut open by a saber, being a team leader who led a protective detail for a "high ranking D.C. visitor" Problem is, according to his DD14 he was assigned to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I have seen the DD214 that is how I know the real truth, but I had no time to copy it. All I have is a full name and a place of birth. I know where his sister is but I doubt she would willingly give me the information I know. He also has a warrant for impersonating a police officer here where "we" reside. What do I do because he actually is a veteran? But a PX Ranger?

concerned 4 years ago

I have recently come into contact with someone who claimed to be a vet. a marine that talks with Norm every year he is a medal of honor and naval cross recipient as well as 7 purple hearts and a total of 70 some medals from the marines. he states he has 6 pages of dd214 all blacked out because of what he did while in the service. but the more i got to know him i thought no way. and i check the registries of the medal of honor and the purple heart he was not there. but because of what he told me i was very generous with him. this is terrible. and he states these things to have people be generous with him what should i do.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Hi "Dona" and "concerned", thanks to both of you for your comments. The Stolen Valor website has a wealth of information, including a link to report anyone in violation of the Stolen Valor Act of 2005. Here is the link: http://www.stolenvalor.com/report.cfm

Good luck in exposing the fakers!

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

See below link for you.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

See link below.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Hi Tess, just wanted to follow-up with you to see if you were able to expose the fake soldier you came across. I responded to you note; however, I did it as a "comment" not a "reply" to your comment, which I just realized probably did not send you an alert. I was not that familiar with Hub Pages at that time, so I apologize if you did not see my response. (see below) I do hope you were successful and I would love to hear an update, if you have one. Thanks!

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Hi Banshee, were you successful in reporting the fake soldier? I realized today that I should have clicked on "reply" instead of just posting a comment. (see below) That said, I highly recommend that you check out the following site for reporting a fake soldier in the future: http://www.stolenvalor.com/report.cfm In addition, go to their home page for additional information and to order the book "Stolen Valor" for additional information. I'd love an update on your "faker" there. Thanks!

SteveJones91 profile image

SteveJones91 4 years ago


I have to say whilst I agree pretending to be a former member of the armed services, and claiming all kinds of glory which is undeserved should be punished. It seems you can be quiet scornful in your comments (one in particular) about the lady dressing in army uniform for charity... if this was done for the purposes of raising money for the armed services or war veterans surely that is a different matter?

I think provided you don't make false claims and you don't wear a medal or any form of decoration then you should be fine to wear a uniform - in certain situations.

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 4 years ago from East Coast Author

Thanks for your feedback, Steve. I based my comments on personal history, witnessing someone pretending to be a hero for his entire adult life, when in fact he had never even been in the military, much less a hero. Yes, I may have sounded a little harsh, but our military heroes should be held in high regard and no one should do anything to diminish their honor. My father served in WWII, two of my brothers served during the Vietnam War, my first husband served in Vietnam and so did thousands of other heroes, so I just feel we need to keep laws in effect and we should enforce those laws -- to prevent any and all impostors from stealing their honor.

If someone was dressing up in a military uniform to honor them and if it was done not to deceive, I think an exception could be made; however, then you are requiring someone to decide if the law was broker or not.

More complications -- possibly too many.

michael 3 years ago

Some one please help me my older brother thinks he is a navy seal now he is saying he was in seal team six it has gone to far now I don't know what to do any more he post it all over facebook some one please help

michael 3 years ago

He has never been in the navy nor ever will be his name is Steven west plz help me show every one he is fake and a fraud my mother is being brain washed bye him some one please help me he lives in hubbard ohio and thinks he was in seal team six I can no longer be part of this diss respect

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 3 years ago from East Coast Author

Dear Michael,

Just seeing your note, first please read through the information above, I cannot report anyone for you, because I do not have the proof needed to do that. I suggest that you contact one of the sources I've provided to ask for their advice and/or assistance. Below are a few links for you to check out. Good luck to you.

Is your older brother even in the military or is he faking that as well? Is he mentally unstable? IF he is in the military and IF he truly is exhibiting symptoms of someone that is mentally unstable, I would think you should be able to contact someone from his branch of service and ask for their assistance. IF he is mentally unstable and thinks he is a Navy Seal, then you have an obligation to alert someone to this effect.

If he is saying he is in the military and you do not think he is, you could request for verification (as listed above: I highly recommend that if you have the dates of his enlistment, the state he enlisted from, his social security number if you can get it and any other information you can get. Then go to the National Personnel Records website and follow their directions on requesting information through the Freedom of Information Act: http://www.archives.gov/st-louis/ , citing FOIA as the reason for requesting the data.

Once you confirm that he is in fact lying about his military service go to the POW Network Organization's web site (www.pownetwork.org) and file a complaint. As you will note at the site above, the 2005 Stolen Valor Act was facing some possible changes:

See link below to read the conflicting decisions made by the Supreme Court. Here's hoping they will reverse the decision conflicting with the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.

Supreme Court Conflicting Opinions to Stolen Valor Act of 2005


Let us know if you were successful or not. Thanks.

Rich 3 years ago

Please help me exposed a fake phony piece of shit, I already contacted the National Personnel Records and he is not there, the name is Louis J Conceicao from San Francisco, CA and he lives in Pacifica, CA. His Facebook and Google+ shows his fakeness and under JLC Services...please help me expose this bastard, he is going around telling people he is Force Recon Marine blah blah blah and trying to get money...

mike 2 years ago

A rich I think I've meet Louis what did he tell you

sandy280 profile image

sandy280 2 years ago from East Coast Author

Rich, please refer to the links I posted in my blog. I believe you will find a great link there to expose the phony soldier. Good luck to you.

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