After bin Laden Raid, False Navy SEAL Claims on the Rise

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Petty Officer George R. Kusner / U.S. Navy

Navy Seals board a ship by fast roping.

In the wake of the Osama bin Laden raid, fake Navy SEALs are coming out of the woodwork. (via ABC News)

And the latest Navy SEAL imposter to be outed? A Pennsylvania pastor.  For five years, his parishioners of the Christian Bible Fellowship Church in Newville, Pennsylvania believed that their pastor, Rev. Jim Moats, was an ex-SEAL who fought during the Vietnam War. He was mentioned in an article in the the Harrisburg Patriot-News that profiled local residents who had served in the elite force. It was only when the story was sent to Don Shipley, a real ex-SEAL, that Moat’s true identity was discovered. Although Moat did serve as a sailor in the U.S. Navy, he never saw combat, nor was he a Navy SEAL.

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But the phenomenon of fake Navy SEALs isn’t new. Shipley is one of the few people with access to a database listing all current and former SEALs. Not only has he taken upon himself to expose frauds, he also has a Google Alert set up to notify him whenever someone’s claim of having been a Navy SEAL is published online. “Oh god, it has skyrocketed,” said Shipley. “I can’t even keep up with the amount of fraudulent claims and phony SEALs. Guys who haven’t ever considered doing this are coming out of the woodwork, and we’re nailing them as fast as we can.”

Suspect a possible fake Navy SEAL on your block? Check out VeriSEAL website. And for those wannabe Navy SEALs out there, you may want to use a bit of creativity when crafting fictitious war stories. Let’s face it, stealing plots from Hollywood flicks like G.I. Jane and Under Siege is so 1990s.

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