Soldier romance scam strikes again [UPDATED]



A 46-year-old woman from Hillsboro, Ore., was scammed for $70,000 in cash and electronics by a man who claimed to be an Army doctor, but turned out to be a Nigerian con man, The Oregonian reports.

This scam is widespread, and regular readers may find the details eerily familiar. These guys are known to lift a real soldier’s photos and spin outlandish tales to prey on lonely-hearted women.
The scammer, who went by the name “Robert Smith Tyndall,” carried on a romantic relationship with the woman through Facebook, e-mail and by telephone, police said.

“Tyndall” claimed to be a 46-year-old from Kansas City stationed in Iraq, but said that he planned to move to Portland to join his familiy’s art and decorating business.

In a twist on the usual pattern, he asked for money not because he was in the war zone, but stuck in Nigeria after his discharge and trying to move African art through customs and in need of financial help.

After she sent a total of $72,431 in cash and electronics, which included 12 BlackBerry cellphones and 10 Apple iPods, she went to the police, who determined that “Tyndall” was a false identity and that his calls to the woman came from Nigeria.

We’ve talked to soldiers whose pictures were misused, victims whose hearts were broken, and blogger C.J. Grisham, who’s dedicated to exposing the scam where he finds it.

Be smart about your photos. Nobody’s immune, from the head of the Vermont National Guard to the chief of staff of the Army.


We spoke to Lt. Mike Rouches, Hillsboro police spokesman, and this scammer’s story gets even more outrageous.

“Tyndall”  told the woman, a 46-year-old bus driver, that he was both an Army doctor and a sergeant. To be in the Army medical corps, you must be an officer.

What’s more, when he spoke with her by phone, he had a Nigerian accent. I’m going to put that one in the category of possible, but unlikely.

The victims of these crimes are emotionally vulnerable, and this one was no different.

“He really played on her loneliness and he purported to be in the United States military, which explained when he couldn’t get back to her right away,” Rouches said. “They don’t want to believe it’s not real. She’s a woman of average intelligence, but she really wanted to believe.”

The scam had moved quickly. They met on Facebook, the talk turned romantic, and two weeks later he was bleeding her for thousands of dollars. It collapsed when “Tyndall” suddenly broke contact with the woman and stopped returning calls and messages.

“Not until there was no way to reach him did she come to us,” Rouches said. “She came in feeling really embarrassed and upset.”

[via The Oregonian]

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  1. T> RODRIGUEZ on

    I got a e-mail from some clown in Nigeria who tried to pull the old slim shadey move on me told me I would come into Big money,,,just send some info about my self ssn,,dob.. NO ONE IS GIVING MONEY AWAY,,, THINK BEFORE YOU MAKE ANY MOVE!!!!

  2. I, too, was scammed. Although this guy did not claim to be in the military, he sure fed my loneliness and low self-esteem. He bilked me out of almost $30,000 before I wised up! Now I’ve met a man who claims to be a Staff Sargent in the U.S. Army and is stationed in Iraq. However, we’ve been talking for 23 months and supposedly he is still deployed. Is he a scammer? I’m still not sure…

  3. Kathy, I’m the author of this post. The best advice I’ve heard — from a soldier whose photo was misused by a scammer — is to have your pen pal send you a picture of himself with a gift you sent.

  4. I think Im in the middle of a scam re Lt Col Aaron Zennchini, request me to fill out urgent leave pass looks all offical but a scam Im sure

  5. Kathy,
    I’ve been to Iraq three times and I’ve never met anyone who has spent two years there unless they came home for leave. Very suspicious, so be sure not to let your guard down.

  6. I tried online dating and after sending thousands of dollars in a scam, was able to get refunded by the Airline Companiy for being scammed to purchase a round trip ticket from Ghana. My advice to you is, the internet is not “Free” and have the Freedom’s we have in the USA. You see how hard it is to really meet someone online I am sure. All I can say, is finally find 1 person you like to write to, maybe someone you know more about. and it will still be difficult. But the odds are against you definately because the internet is not Governed or regulated by any authority right now.

  7. Almost got scammed. The guy used the name Tony Jackson said he was 30 years of age from washington dc and he had to go to Africa because his mom was in a car accident. WE talke on yahoo chat. He was a smooth talk and had a way with his words. I love you and I will tell the whole world that i love you. Blah Blah for days then he was saying he had been at the hospital all day with his mom her pelvic was dislocated from the car accident they wont do the surgery until he pays for it. he said shes in pain and that he did not have money for her medication. I had to money in the western union ready for the pick up and when i got home i googled romance scam and there was his picture and letters he had wrote. Those letters were word for word just like the ones he had sent to me. I called the western union and told them about it and to stop the money transfer and they said sure. I went to western union and got my money back. Thank God. please yall be careful.

  8. Hi. I think I am being scammed by a guy who claims he is a Captain in the army and is retiring in one week and is flying here to meet me. I asked if he could receive any mail or send out mail and he said he could not due to security reasons. He says that he makes over $30,ooo per month and he told me he loved me so very much and I am his dream come true. I fell for it hook line and sinker. But, then mydaughter who is looking out for me emailed me with a poem that he had sent to me, which was the same exact words except he had separated a paragraph from it and reversed it around towards the bottom. This other lady who was also being romanced had been scammed by a guy from Africa with the same words. I started getting very suspicious after that and my heart is really broken now. I met him through a dating site: and his name is” Walter Peter Smith. Another colleague of mine told me that the Army doesn’t return any enlisted members just because he is sick of the fighting over there. He was originally not getting out until December, then all of a sudden he said he had some good news and that he was getting out next week and would be flying out to MN to meet me. When I asked for some money for gas to get to the MN airport, he said he could not send anything because of security reasons. Yeah right. Then I started thinking about it all and remembered that he had asked me if I could get a loan just to help me out until he came to the States. Then, all my money problems would be over because he is so rich. He even promised me that he would take me to France for Christmas, and buy us a new house in New York. What a creep! I am so mad at him now and broken hearted that I am not trusting anyone from another state or out of the country ever again!.

  9. What free websites or avenues can someone use to see if the person contacting me via a dating website is really in the military?

    He has shared some facts, but said he cannot receive any care packages or cards. Is is stationed in Bagram.

  10. Maria Rita Lynch on

    I believe Lt.Aaron Zecchini has contacted me asking for me to help him with his leave from Afghanistan I payed 3,000 USD please return an email with some advice.

  11. Please don’t believe in somebody claim be Lt Zecchini,and armyadmbenefits please don’t do it.He become involve with my kids and all my personal information and his friend both ta Named SCM Peterson and take from me money and he email me for 2 months .He is on the,he destroy my family and my financial status leave with nothing and debts.He contact me after some people was asking me for more money and for relief some money claiming Lt.Zecchini was hurt in Afghanistan.I make the mistake terrible mistake i will pay for rest of my life but more hurt me for my kids was so much attach to him.Please protect your self too late for me..

  12. 1. There is no reason that a service member would be asking for money for an emergency. Every branch of the military has ways for military personal to receive funds from various emergency relief funds, advance pay, ect. If they ask you for a dime, they are NOT a service member and are scamming you. Why in the world would you even consider giving money to someone you have never met and never checked out?
    2. There is no prohibition anywhere for sending or receiving mail for security reasons. Every single service member can receive mail somewhere.
    3. When in doubt, check him out with the service he claims to belong to. Contact your local base Office of Special Investigations or call the base security police and ask them who to report this to. You may have to be persistent but its better than being conned.

  13. i was scammed by a guy as if he is General in US ARMY ,named him self Miller Heli with a handsome General photo in the face book.requesting me to marry him ,he said that currently he is serving in Afghanistan and claiming me $1000.00 to process our marriage certificate.However I didn’t accept his request and finally I identified him as scammer

  14. Hi, A so-called captain gibril from the U.S. army wanted to be friends with me on facebook and I Accept. Started talking to me, started calling me baby etc. Now look i am 54 year of age and definitely not born yesterday and immediatly sence something fishy. I desperately want this guy to be caught and am playing along but don’t know who can help me. He has’nt asked me for money yet. I am an South African woman and after i started investigating the Internet realising that my gut feeling was right i came across your blog. Any advise, will be appreciated. The poor military men who’s identity these scammers are misuse!

  15. This preditor is also serving in Afganistan wife and kid died in the Pentagon crises, absolute rubbish! On his so called facebook profile he has targeted about 6 South African women so far (befriended) He asked me if I am on Skype and to talk to him through Yahoo, that seems to be the mediums they use, fortunately i said no.
    Thanks, hope one can stop them.

  16. Hello, I have been talking to someone since 9th April 2012. He Contacted me on a dating site that i went on. Over a period of time, he has declared his love for me, that he is looking for someone to settle down with as he is retiring very soon from the U.S. Army, and is waiting for his retirement letter.He is supposed to be servng in Afghanistan at the moment. I have done some research, and found that the photos sent to me are being used with out the real person who is in them knowing. I feel sad that the person i am speaking to is more than likely a scammer. I would love to find out who he real person in the photos is? He is really in the U.S. army, and his real surname is Lopez, and he has distinct tattoos up both arms, that looks like he is wearing long sleeves. I would say he is possibly between the age of 35 – 49. He appears to like the Old Classic American Motorbikes, and maybe a member of a Motor Bike Club. I would be so grateful if someone could help me to find the real person? I have photos i can send if you can help me? I would love to know who he really is, and i would like to tell him what has been going on by this person i have been speaking to who is pretending to be him? please can someone help me???

  17. I have just been chatting with a person presenting himself as a major Billy Casey who is serving in Afganistan for US army, who is stating that he is waiting for his letter to return. His profile states he has advanced degree and high income. The pictures are of an very atractive man who probably doesn’t have a clue his pictures are on the dating site. He contacted me on the dating site “Hot or not” and in less than two weeks he proclaimed his love to me, propose marriage, talked about travel plans onece he returns. Soon enough he sent me a letter which I’ll copy and paste here

    Hello my Babe, how is your health? I believe you are doing very well for me. As I was saying Honey there is something I will like to tell you… which really makes me uncomfortable and even insecure here now in Afghanistan, You know Afghanistan is a very difficult place that, I don’t want to lose my life so I need not to think about anything but to free my mind and only think about being together with you soon my love. I really love you and the love that I have you is really great that I can’t afford to lose you as well…To say it in this way my love, there was a package given to me here in Afghanistan by the Afghanistan government sometime ago, And is all because of my hard work and as well my long way Military actives stay here in Afghanistan….Honey not all the soldier’s were given this packages, It was given to some of the officers, Majors and as well the General as a reward. Because of the love, trust and care sprite that I have you, I want to send mine to you to keep safe so that when I leave the army and come to you, we can use the money for something profitable which will fetch as more money to live our lives. My love, the package contain a sum $3.5 million. The officers were also given the sum of $4 million; the last members of the awarded were the family of the late Military troops who lost theirs lives over here during the peace keeping event…Most of my men sent their packages to their wives and as well love ones, to be kept for them; I still have my package with me because I had no one to send it to. You know my son is just a little boy and I have no family to send it to… my love, now that you are part of my life, I really want to send mine to you, because I know for sure that am going to spend the rest of my life with you. I bet you that nothing at all in this world can change my mind about you darling. I love you and the love I have for you will never die, it will continue to grow stronger each passing day… my love this package is what I have work all this years for and I don’t want to lose it to anyone so please help me keep it safe by you until I return home to you. I will be waiting to talk with you online my love. Attach is a picture of the day we were awarded. Please take very good care of yourself for me and know that I love you so much darling…

    He had told my previously that he is an only child, parents both dead, wife dead, has only one daughter 13 years old. The letter says little son. His English is terable and repetes babe at list 3 times in one sentence. He said he is sending the package to me via a diplomat, who contacted me right away to send him money, he began with 1000 to rais it up to 1900$ to pay the diplomatic yellow tag in Ghana so the package not be open. He didn’t get any money, so they (I’m saying they, because it seemed I talked to more than one person, judging by the change of the fluency intheir English) began calling and emailing orthering me to send the money immediatly. I stoped responding to their calls and emails. I am however concerned because they have got my name , my home address, and phone#. Does anybody experienced the same

  18. Hi Jayne
    I am from Australia and I believe I am in the same situation ad you.

    I was just wondering if you could tell me how you researched to find out that the photo’s actually were not him as he claimed however of a real US military person!!!

    Any information would be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  19. This is goin on right now, my scammer is goin by the name mongan perko. Army guy, needed me for his funds. they can be very convincing til the army emailed me to send them 900 so he can go home….and guess where the money was to go .Nigeria…….

  20. Im glad i found these sites it helps alot. Im glad I can spot a scammer I lived and learned before it was to late. I wish others gooxd luck and plsease dont send these lowlifes no money. If it sounds to good to be ture then it is!

  21. Oh the same guy Mongan Perko, placed a ad on criags list in London.. He hasn’t asked me for anything but I had a gut feeling about his appproach.

    After aearching online, i discovered his scam. Please be aware of him. Can someone report this to the police?

  22. I was recently contacted by a guy named Anthony Hildress who claims to be a senior officer in the army stationed in Kuwait. We chatted for a couple of days(3) and now all of sudden he says he’s in love with me and asks do I feel the same. Well warning bells go off in my head because we’ve only been talking for a few days and it’s just not normal for me to love someone I’ve never even met but I play along and sure enough he ask me for $300 so he can have a phone to call me on. Has anyone heard of this guy because I’ve read these posts and some sound very familiar. I’m going to keep it going so I can gather more information but under no circumstances is he getting a dime of my hard earned cash!

  23. hi, everyone so glad i found this site.
    I am being scammed at the moment, by someone claiming to be be max cole.
    I am from Britain, know nothing bout the army and especially the american army.
    He contacted me via dating site called badoo.
    the pics he has sent me I have no doubt are real photos of someone in the army. I feel kinda sad that the person in the photos knows nothing. Some of the photos are of a private nature too.
    It wasnt till he asked me to send a letter to leave department and that id have to pay for this, that alarm bells went off in my head.
    I am still in contact, why because i dont know what to do.
    Yes I could just block him, stop all contact, but part of me wonders if there is anything I can do to stop this. to get him caught.
    for the first time last night I got a phone call, he did not sound American.
    my phone is going right now from him, will be to find out if i am going to send money through western. Ofcourse I am NOT
    I was reading also about some soldiers who’s wifes girlfriends were leaving them because of all this. how do u let the army know that a particular soldier has been used for this. would it make any difference anyway, as they obviously know soldiers photos are being used by con people.
    anyhow, most of the stories sound familiar, sending poems, songs, using the word baby twice in the one sentence, not understanding some things i say. seems like he always awake, if not, hes on patrol, on a secret mission. He feels we all have a soul mate and im his, he will come home to be with me on leave and then retire. he says he is 37. could tell u all loads but cant get on my phone the now. uses BUZZ so when i go online it must alert him, cause up he pops. Im using my home computer to write this.
    also Im sure he using other alias on badoo, and maybe messenger too, or maybe im getting bit paranoid.
    This was my first experience on a dating site, think i be giving it a miss now.
    Basically before i delete him I want to know if it is possible if I kept talking would anyone be able to do anything about this scam.

  24. i got the same letter as you mary, i met him on the Flirton site his name is Stephen Cameron and his e-mail is we exchanged e-mail addresses, he very quickly declared his love for me, and that my children were classed as his own, then he sent me the letter through a e-mail, about the packages and how he did’nt want to lose his life, so he would send the packages to me through a UN Diplomat, his name was Edward Balogun and his e-mail address was, it was an address in Nigeria, he said that the packages were worth over 75,000 each and this would be our future together, yes he scammed me out of £500 and i sent it by moneygram, yes i did find out it was a scam, but then he tried to tell me he loved me, and wanted to come home to be with me and the chlidern, i did not reply back to him, then he went down to £500, i have now deleted him off my yahoo e-mail account, and just wanted to let other women know not to go on the flirton site, as theres a lot more on there scaming women

  25. i got the same letter as you mary, i met him on the flirton site his name is Stephen Cameron and his e-mail address is, we exchanged e-mail addresses, he very quickly declared his love for me, and that my children were classed as his own, then he sent me the letter through a e-mail, about the packages and how he did’nt want to lose his life, so he would send the packages to me through a UN Diplomat, his name was Edward Balogun, and his e-mail address is, it was an address in Nigeria, he said that the packages were worth over 75,000 each and this would be our future together, yes he scammed me out of £500 and it was sent by moneygram, then he tried to tell me he loved me and wanted to come home for Xmas to be with me and the children, and i would have to apply for his leave, which cost £2,000 i did not reply back,then he went to £500, i have now deleted him of my yahoo, e-mail account and i just wanted to let other women know, not to go on the flirton site as theres a lot more on there scaming women

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