Chinese criminals are scamming Americans by pretending to be US Veterans

Source: TikTok

By Michael Swaney

Most people who purchase something that says it is “Made in America” would assume it is, but in this day in age, most consumers know very little about what is being sold over the internet.

Whether it is the thousands of inferior Chinese-made knock-off items being sold through Amazon, the so-called “24-hour Ray Ban sales” or, in this recently discovered case, “Veteran crafted” products being sold by websites that advertise on US-based social media platforms.

I almost fell victim to this scam, which is clearly targeting patriots and veterans, like myself, when I received an advertisement that featured a video of a “Veteran” named “James Anderson” crafting a wood-carved American flag.

“I’m a veteran who lost my job due to economic downturn,” the caption on the video reads. “Now I make a living making some handmade woodcrafts in my own workshop.”

I thought, “Wow, what a unique product created by a veteran craftsman; I’m definitely going to buy one.”

I also noticed the video advertisement received 40k shares on Facebook in less than a month, so I thought the advertisement had to be the real deal.

So, I clicked on the link that took me to a website called “Veteran Craftsman,” which proudly features a stamp from the Better Business Bureau and boasts an A+ rating.

Everything seemed legitimate and I didn’t notice any major red flags until I saw the price for the flag was just over $30. I can barely even get a haircut for that much or even some cheap piece of Chinese-made decor at Walmart.

I immediately started seeing more red flags -no pun intended- such as the URL which had nothing to do with woodworking or craftsmanship and numerous typos on the site.

Now it was time to dig up the truth and it did not take long.

The website domain has only been active for three months and no surprise here, the domain is registered in Guangdong Province, China.

A search of the Better Business Bureau found no records of any business with the URL or website name.

To my surprise, the URL was not blacklisted anywhere, seemingly because nobody has caught it in the last three months.

The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center processes the complaints made by consumers, and according to them, internet crimes have significantly increased every year.

In 2018, Americans lost around $2.7 billion from the 351k internet crime cases that were reported. By 2022, the number skyrocketed to over 800k cases and over $10 billion in losses.

So how has the FBI, which was able to match hundreds of people’s faces at the Capitol on Jan. 6th with their social media accounts, not realize Chinese citizens were behind James Anderson’s knock-off artwork?

Apparently, they are not as sophisticated as we think, are not looking hard enough, or heavily relying on consumers to report the crimes.

With over 40k shares on Facebook and hundreds of probable purchases, someone had to report it, right?

A quick glance at James Anderson’s Facebook profile solved that mystery.

His profile only features one photo of himself but has received numerous mentions over the past few months by people who stated they were scammed out of their money.

“This page is a scam. I am so embarrassed that you are posing as a vet,” one person wrote on March 3rd. “DO NOT ORDER FROM THIS WEBSITE. You try to support your brothers and sisters in arms when they get out because it’s a good cause. You’re a joke and a scammer. Your page has been reported and I hope they take it down. This is ridiculous.”

Another person even posted a photo of the knock-off product they received.

“Do not order. Fakers,” they wrote. “This is what I got. I’m sure No veteran of the US made this. Gross.”

Where is James Anderson and his real artwork? The phone number listed on his account is inactive and the address provided in Mississippi does not exist but there is obviously a real man featured in the video because AI is not that good -at least not yet.

The real James Anderson is actually a US Army veteran named Darryl Ferrel, who is very aware of the scam that is going on.

After speaking with Darryl, I learned his company, Ferrel Flags, reported the scammer website to Facebook weeks ago, on March 1st, but has not heard back.

The video featured in the scammer’s advertisement was stolen from his TikTok after it gained over 600k views.

Darryl believes they used his video because of the unique way he creates his flags and the overwhelming positive feedback from users on Chinese-owned TikTok.

His real products, ranging in price from $225 to $875, are listed on his website ( and ship from Florida.

According to Darryl, he’s heard from people who have been scammed and received knock-off products sent from various places in the United States.

One even attempted to receive a refund but only received $5 back after paying around $40 for shipping.

Those who have been affected by this crime are encouraged to report it to the social media platform it originated on and the FBI.

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