A few years ago I wrote an article on fraudulent veterans, their motives for being frauds, and how to detect and investigate such individuals. In this article, I will discuss how they manage to deceive the public.
One method such phonies rely on is their war stories. Whether they claim to be Navy Seals, Green Berets, etc., their stories are filled up with tales of action, the horrors of war, or even carrying out a covert operation, they manage to fascinate people with tales of combat. Such tales can easily fool someone who has little (if any) knowledge of the military or any particular war, and even fool those who had served in the armed forces. But anyone who had served or had done research on the military and/or a certain war might realize that such stories are too good to be true, especially if the phony veteran says something about his or her service that doesn’t sound right.
Of course, sometimes these phonies can say they served in the armed forces without telling any stories of combat. After all, why would someone lie about serving in the military, regardless of whether or not he or she had been in combat? That is the perception that most people have in regards to veterans. And in some cases, no one bothers to verify if the given individual did serve.
Another method phony vets use to deceive the public is wearing military apparel (e.g. fatigues). They might wear hats, t-shirts, etc. that will list any of the armed forces or even say that they were a veteran of a certain war. But such items can be purchased virtually anywhere.
The same can be said for military decorations. They can be purchased at flea markets, and most likely everywhere else (including online). In my opinion, it should be illegal to sell any military decoration (if it isn’t already).
Perhaps the method most used by phony veterans (or veterans who lie about what they did, where they served, etc.), is forged documents. Here is a list of ways they carry out their deception:
- Obtaining forged military certificates.
- Purchasing fake identification cards.
- Using counterfeit records.
- Doctoring their military records, especially if they were military clerks. Some impostors have even resorted to bribing military clerks into doctoring their military records, which in some case the clerk will insert counterfeit documents in an individual’s file.
I have no doubt that some people (whether or not they actually served in the armed forces) are continuing to resort to such measures to deceive the general public. But given the many verification processes, public awareness of such fraud, etc., hopefully such deception will be less common than it used to be.