Troops are targets for everything from early payday loans, to fake charities, to outright theft. Some scammers even pretend to be part of the military and try to cash in. For U.S. troops, it's one of the most reviled issues they have to deal with. Now, one man was caught on camera posing as a soldier by an Army ranger after noticing some anomalies with the uniform, CBS News' Jan Crawford reports.
At a suburban Philadelphia mall on Black Friday, the scene was caught on camera.
"What unit are you in?" asked Army ranger Ryan Berk, a Purple Heart recipient.
"I'm with the 2nd Battalion Rangers," replied Sean Yetman.
Berk noticed something wrong with Yetman's uniform.
"Where's your combat patch at?" Berk asked Yetman.
"I gave it to a little kid," Yetman said.
"All right, why is flag so low on your shoulder? It should be up here," Berk said, pointing at the uniform.
Berk continued to note what, to him, were obvious problems with the arrangement and type of medals on Yetman's uniform. But Yetman wouldn't let up.
"Let me tell you something, if I was a phony, I wouldn't be wearing this uniform," Yetman said.
"You wouldn't? Because you are a phony. I just called you out on 10 different things," Berk responded.
Berk's suspicions about Yetman were right. An Army spokesperson told CBS News it has no record he ever served.
The video has millions of views on YouTube, and it's hardly the only one like it.
Armed with smartphones, active duty troops and veterans are calling out impostors, some who are looking for money or discounts offered to the military.
They are now sharing the evidence online. Guardian Of Valor, the website that first posted Berk's video, said it gets dozens of emails a day from soldiers who spot fakes. It even has a "hall of shame" for those who are caught.
"It's very disappointing, it's frustrating, it's one of the reasons why we went forward with this law," Nevada Rep. Joe Heck said.
Heck is an Iraq war vet who sponsored the Stolen Valor Act last year. The law makes it a crime to benefit financially by lying about military service.
"I'm appalled, and it's not the first time that we've seen these impostors going around trying to hold themselves out to be something that they're not," Heck said.
CBS News was unable to reach Yetman for comment, but he has previously pleaded guilty to impersonating a public servant. If he is charged and found guilty of taking advantage of discounts for servicemen, he could face a fine or even a year in prison under the Stolen Valor Act.