Skip to comments.Soldiers' identities used as a way to scam people. Army leads in FTC fraud complaints
Posted on 03/15/2015 7:02:40 AM PDT by SandRat
FORT HUACHUCA Defending against love when it is part of a scam is what soldiers have to do, along with watching out for more personal identity attacks against them.
In a February release of reports gathered in 2014, and published by the Federal Trade Commission, two of the 102 pages dealt with statistics involving Americas armed forces.
Fort Huachuca Spokeswoman Tanja Linton said, just like the nations civilian community, service members men and women and their families are targets of scammers.
In the FTC Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, the Army, which is the largest service in the armed forces, had the highest level of complaints, 42,315 out of the 87,400 filed in 2014, which included family members.
Linton said while all scams involving military members and their families are a concern, the most troubling are identity theft and imposter scams in which military personnel have their background used to commit financial crimes against others.
While she had no specific figures for the post, she said what is happening to those assigned to the fort is a part of the larger Army picture.
She has both official and personal knowledge of scams in the military community.
Linton is a Facebook expert, both officially using it to get the posts stories out, and personally with a host of friends on her list.
One day she got a friend request from a person named Ray Odierno.
Initially she was excited, as Odierno is the Army chief of staff, the services highest ranking soldier.
But then reality hit, very quickly. Why would Odierno want to communicate directly with her to chat?
Linton said if she had said yes to being a friend, then the person pretending to be Odierno would be able to glean personal information about her and use it as base for a scam.
So, she is not a friend of whomever the pretend Ray Odierno is.
Laughing, she said, I was really honored he picked me but it really wasnt him and she said it didnt take her long not to friend the false chief of staff.
Linton said soldiers and their families need to be aware of the problems created by identity theft, especially financially.
Romance scams major concern
The Armys Criminal Investigation Command is asking soldiers not to allow their personal information to be used in what is dubbed Romance Scams.
In early 2013 the command, which stated it has been combating the issue since 2009, said unknown individuals were impersonating soldiers online going after unsuspecting women in the 30- to 55-year-old bracket.
In a January 2013 release the CID asked women who believe they are romantically involved with an American soldier, to ensure the individual is a real GI before being exploited and ultimately robbed by perpetrators that strike from thousands of miles away.
Linton said scammers appear to be reducing their hits on American women, now favoring ladies from other countries.
The sad part is many of the women believe they are in love with a soldier but when she gets a call from a woman checking out if a particular soldier is assigned to the fort, all Linton can tell them is its probably a scam.
Many of the women she has talked to said a soldier boyfriend needed help because his mother was dying and he was overseas and needed money to get home to see her.
Linton said the Army takes care of such individuals and gets them home in such cases.
Another story women relate is that the soldier is deployed and the Army is not feeding him and he needs funds to buy food.
Again, that is not real.
Or a pretend soldier is being reassigned overseas and he has to sell his car because he has no money to ship the vehicle, as the scammer seeks funds to purportedly transport the vehicle.
Again, it is a non-truth as the vehicle can be transported to an approved overseas assignment, Linton said, adding the victims dont understand how the U.S. military works and are pulled into the scam.
Those involved in using such scams know American soldiers are respected and people will reach out to help them, she said.
When it comes to soldiers and families who have concerns about being victims of a scam, The Army Community Service assists service members and retirees with financial counseling and in most cases winds up referring them to JAG for legal resolution, she said.
Linton also noted, Retirees on tight budgets are the most common victims of financial scams, which is attested do in the FTC report which states 66 percent of the complaints come from military retirees or veterans.
Scam complaints by branch
Army personnel registered the most complaints in the February publication of the Federal Trade Commission fraud and consumer complaints.
Nearly half of all the complaints 48 percent were from Army-affiliated people.
The Navy registered 21 percent.
The AIr Force was at 19 percent.
Marines at 10 percent.
Coast Guard came in at 2 percent.
There were 87,400 complaints made.
Whos a victim
The ranks most hit by complaints in the FTC report were those in paygrades E5/E6 with a 32 percent rate.
Next was those in grades E1/E3 at 28 percent.
Others In descending order were:
E4s at 12 percent.
E7 to E9 at 10 percent.
O4 to O6 at 8 percent.
O1 to O3 at 6 percent.
ID Theft Clearinghouse
Washington, DC 20580
We received 2 different company pieces of junk mail with one stranger’s name on it. I smelled a rat and thought it could have been because I have moved around so much. I searched the states I lived in for the name and did a tiny info search. My son got out of the Corps in Dec. The woman on the mail is married to another former Marine and they just recently filed for bankruptcy. Live close to my son. He didn’t know the Marine and has been keeping watch on his credit. Just bazzaro crud.
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