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Katelyn Ferral
By Katelyn Ferral January 19, 2024

Portable heater advertised on Facebook is a scam, not invented by Vietnam War-era veteran

If Your Time is short

  • No, a Vietnam veteran did not invent a portable heater that can quickly heat a whole house on the cheap. It’s a scam product with bogus links.

  • Learn more about PolitiFact's fact-checking process and rating system.

A portable heater invented by a war veteran that can heat your whole home for pennies?

Sounds too good to be true, and indeed it is. 

The Dec. 30 Facebook post with an ad for the "Toasty Heater" claims the device was invented by a Vietnam War-era veteran and that it can heat a whole home for "pennies a day." 

This Facebook post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook and Instagram.)

The Facebook post’s ad for the Toasty Heater says: 

Featured Fact-check

"Genius American Firefighter discovers an alternative way to stay warm this winter... And greedy energy companies are trying their hardest to shut him down. David's new discovery is taking America by storm, and experts say it's the future of heating. He wants everyone to know about it and join him in his fight against big energy."

The post’s video features a man it claims to be "David" from upstate New York, but the video is actually excerpted from a 2015 interview with a Vietnam War-era veteran, David Gonzalez, who was interviewed by KQED-TV in San Francisco about his experience as a disabled veteran. The station posted the video on YouTube on Nov. 10, 2015. It had nothing to do with a heater. 

The Facebook post also includes a link to a website claiming to sell the Toasty Heater, but the links on that website are broken, taking the user to a website index rather than an online store.

Lead Stories, another Meta-partnered fact-checking organization, explained how the scam has been refashioned across social media to credit a firefighter and a U.S. Army officer as the innovator. Malware Tips, which uncovers and debunks scams online, also found that the Toasty Heater products were "low-quality generic heaters bought in bulk from Alibaba and other Chinese exporters." 

We rate the claim that a Vietnam War-era veteran has invented and is selling a portable heater that can slash heating bills False.

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More by Katelyn Ferral

Portable heater advertised on Facebook is a scam, not invented by Vietnam War-era veteran

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