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Scammers posing as soldiers

Man uses CSM Troxell's photo

Purported online scammer “James Troxell” sent a photo of himself, when in actuality, it was a photo of CSM John W. Troxell, current senior enlisted advisor to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Photo credit: U.S. Army

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The e-mail began with the sentence, "I'm sure you already know that an online scammer, James Troxell, is using CSM John Troxell's military photo and his biographical information to scam women."

Command Sgt. Maj. John Troxell is currently the third Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and he is a former I Corps command sergeant major.

Vicky Yedwalsky wrote that first sentence, and as of this writing, James Troxell is still trying to convince her to pay $600 for a $10,000 international wire transfer.

While pressuring Yedwalsky to put up the $600, James recently wrote, "I want you to send me $200 baby, I need to get some new underwear and t-shirts baby.  Please.  The once (sic) I have are too old."

Their online relationship began June 10, when Yedwalsky met James Troxell on

"He stated he was in the Army as a sergeant major and was stationed in Turkey," Yedwalsky wrote in an e-mail. "He also stated he was in the military for thirty years and that when his tour was over he was going to retire and come home. We were going to get married."

James then offered to help Yedwalsky pay off her $5,000 in bills.

"He told me I could transfer $10K from his bank account to my bank account," continued Yedwalsky.

At one point, James instructed Yedwalsky to refer to him as her "husband" in order to facilitate the transfer, which came with a fee of $600.

She said she didn't have the $600 to pay the fee.  

James then turned up the dial on the emotional roller coaster and began to engage in emotional blackmail.

He begins one of his texts with a "I missed you too, baby," and "I'm very fine, my love," but then ends the same communication with "I'm having a serious issue with the bank concerning that money" and "You told me you are going to send them but up till now I have seen nothing."

Her suspicions finally aroused, Yedwalsky did a web search on James Troxell.

"I found his picture and military record.  I was impressed," she wrote. "But I went back to the website and found that the person I had looked up was actually CSM John Troxell and not James.  I didn't notice at first because both names started with the letter ‘J.'"

It's at this point that Yedwalsky contacted this publication.

In a January 2017 article entitled "Fake Service Members Are Scamming Civilians And The Army Isn't Having It," David Leffler points out that what James Troxell is attempting to do with Vicky Yedwalsky is "by far one of the most successful schemes involving American servicemembers.  Well, not real ones.  But people pretending to be them."

Yedwalsky is a textbook example of what Leffler wrote about.

The Army's Criminal Investigation Department (CID) offers the following safeguards:

  • Do not send money
  • If in an Internet-based relationship, check the person out
  • Be suspicious if you never speak to the person on the phone or are told you cannot write or receive letters in the mail
  • Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the e-mails

Along with the use of common sense, there are a number of sites to visit in order to stop the scamming.

A good starting point is the U.S. Army's Social Media Resources site.

If a person believes an individual claiming to be a soldier is scamming them, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC),, and the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3),

Educate yourself. There is no reason whatsoever to be the victim of a scammer.

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