Osama Fallout: Fake Navy SEALs Emerge

Imposters 'coming out of the woodwork,' one ex-SEAL says
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 10, 2011 2:28 PM CDT
The Navy SEAL trident is seen on a camouflage uniform.   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – Even before a SEAL shot Osama bin Laden in the face, Don Shipley was finding 15 to 20 fake SEALs a day. Shipley is one of a handful of people with access to the database of all current and former SEALs, and he’s made something of a hobby out of exposing impersonators, ABC News reports. Bin Laden’s death has given him a lot to do. “Oh god, it has skyrocketed,” he says.

“I can’t even keep up with the amount of fraudulent claims and phony SEALs” anymore, Shipley says. “Guys who haven’t ever considered doing this are coming out of the woodwork, and we’re nailing them as fast as we can.” Fewer than 10,000 SEALs or ex-SEALs are believed to be alive today, and the FBI estimates that each has 300 imposters, Shipley explains. “I put the number closer to 1,000 based on the fraud cases I’ve seen.” Click to read about the real SEALs.

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