Just when you think the scum of the internet can't stoop any lower, they descend to a new level - indicating that some will do anything to thieve your hard earned money. Internet criminals have recently targeted families of fallen soldiers with an Army phishing scam. These con artists are contacting victimized relatives with promises of compensation in return for confidential information. However, their intent is to steal this information and commit identity theft.
According to reports by ARMY.MIL/NEWS, the criminals are using Army Information Papers and posing as representatives of the Defense Finance and Accounting or the Army Resources Command Office.
Army phishing scam preys on families of fallen soldiers
The Army phishing scam leads families of deceased soldiers to believe they will receive up to $12 million, which will be released within a week of returning information requested in the email. It goes on to disclose that families entitled to compensation must provide their personal information including a name, address, birth date, Social Security number, and details regarding the deceased soldier. From there, recipients are instructed to contact the Army Human Resource Command Office in Alexandria, Virginia or forward the details via email to a Yahoo account overseas.
Angela Sykes, Army G3 Operations Security Officer, states that scam artists have obtained the contacts of deceased soldiers from the internet. She went on to say that Army G3 sent messages of warning to each of the OPSEC program managers, encouraging them to spread the details among members of their personnel. As reported by ARMY.MIL/NEWS, these criminals do not stop at the email system, as some have even called relatives by phone impersonating military officials.
Proceeding the Casualty and Mortuary Affairs Operation Center's knowledge of the Army phishing scam, the Army Human Resource Command requested that the entire field be throughly advised on the probability of these disheartening incidents. The Army Installation Management Command was notified about the phishing email scam as well, and they immediately devised methods of prevention with the Family MWR (Morale Welfare and Recreation) Command unit.
Army phishing scam culprits were found to be within the military
A similar incident involved an Army phishing test that backfired the day before April Fool's Day of 2008. What makes this situation even more interesting is the fact that the culprit turned out to be one of their own. As released in a press conference by the Army Family MWR Command, this particular email carried an official MWR logo and attempted to obtain sensitive information from soldiers with the promise of free and discounted tickets to theme parks and feature attractions. Less than an hour after the initial statement, the command reported that the phishers had indeed been found, revealing that it was members of the Army's Network Enterprise Technology Command.
Though some were furious, others defended the email, including Laurie Pugh, spokeswoman for the Army Family and Morale Welfare and Recreation Command. She contests that it was simply a test used to protect U.S. soldiers, seemingly glad the system worked and word spread so quickly.
Military officials have recently stated that Army G3 or MWR programs would never ask for such personal information through an email message to families of deceased soldiers or the soldiers themselves. They went on to explain that such deals available to soldiers would be listed on two authorized military websites and sent via Army or civilian news outlets.