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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.