That is truly a sad and scary thought. But I say that anyone who is not your spouse or your child asking you for money is a no no and would be an immediate stop sign for me. I had an old lady in my bank almost get truly scammed by a young man on facebook but thankfully I caught it. My recommendation is that if anyone asks you for money who is in a romantic situation with you you should ask them to ask one of their guy friends or girlfriends even if they say it is an emergency. It does not matter how long you have known them. Seems hard and harsh but having seen first hand what some of these money scams are, it is necessary.
Now this is a very reasonable caution and an example of being prudent.
Absolutely, and I would add, don't "help" them set up paypal accounts or anything else like that as well -- offers a back door to your information. If they are stranded in a foreign country direct them to the embassy there. If they are "in" the military they always have access to their funds, if they have children - they are well cared for BEFORE they deploy - nothing is left to chance, etc.
My first experience was a man who was supposedly deployed had one son who was being raised by his great uncle. Child began complaining of stomach pain. . .supposedly diagnosed with an appendicitis but they needed $1500 before they would do the operation. Huge flags here: a military child would be covered under his father's insurance for one, also an appendicitis is usually an emergency surgery and would have been taken care of first and payment worried about after. He didn't ask me for the full amount just $350. I told him I would be happy to take care of that just give me his son's full name and the hospital. I would call the billing office and have it taken care of right then. . .of course I knew he was fibbing all over the place and he became adament that I just wire the money to his uncle, etc etc etc. I refused and said I would be happy to help but could only do it as I had offered. He tried to make me feel bad for putting his poor child through needless suffering etc. I told him by now if he did have an appendicitis he would be in real trouble. He tried a few other tactics but I held firm and of course he disappeared :-).