1) Ask your scammer for his official military email address. This is not classified information. A real US soldier may have a classified email address as well, but he also has a regular military email address with which he writes to his friends and family. Every soldier does because it is the only one he is supposed to use. When he gives his email address to you, it should end in .mil It will NOT end in .com In other words, it should look like John.Doe @us.army.mil
If the email address doesn't end in .mil on the extreme right side of the @ sign, he is a fake. Only US servicemen can get a .mil email address, and if he can't produce one that you can email him back and forth with, he's scamming you. Period.2) Ask him for his APO address. That's not a post office box abroad but a special US zip code for military mail. Tell him you want to send him a surprise and need to know where to send it. If he won't give it to you for any reason, he's scamming you. If he gives you an APO address it will look something like this:John Doe*** BattalionUnit ***, Box ****APO, AP ###-##-####Note how there's no address listed. That's because members of the US military serving abroad in a war zone are not allowed to give out their locations for security purposes. All mail goes through military channels and they know where he is and will get it to him.3) Get his name, date of birth and social security number, and run it through the military's website. This too, is not classified information and, in fact, would be information he'd have to disclose if he were ever captured. The site I have linked you to should tell you if he is a soldier. If he won't tell you, then you know he's a scammer. He has no reason to refuse to give it to you. If he does but the site doesn't recognize him or contradicts what he's told you, that tells you he's a scammer too.The above are foolproof. If he can't or won't give you what you ask for then he's a fake, no matter what else he tries to say or show you or how many of his buddies he gets to write or call you to verify his lies.This last trick doesn't always work, but when it does it's really dramatic:4) Upload his photo to search by image and see if the same photo is being used all over the web on a bunch of different names and profiles. If you can't figure out how to use Search by Image you can attach them with your reply.Once you find out that he's a scammer, cease all contact with him. Send no gifts or money. Report him to your local police, to the FBI at IC3.gov and to the Federal Trade Commission at FTC.gov.