It looks like scammer scum have come up with a new one. The latest phishing ploy uses the Red Cross as a ruse to scam people into divulging personal information about their soldier loved ones, in order to steal their identities. The scenario goes like this: Someone from the Red Cross calls a family member of a soldier serving abroad, claiming that their loved one has been either killed or injured, and that they need some personal information verified before any action can be taken.
In the case of a Florida woman, Maureen Rieth, someone called from the "Red Cross" to notify her that her Navy son had been killed in an ambush in Afghanistan, and that they needed his date of birth and social security number to compare to the deceased's dog tags before his body could be shipped home. Thankfully, she came from a family of soldiers and knew that this was not the usual military protocol for notifying family members of a death. So, although she was very upset, she was wary and savvy enough to not give out any information. But how many have fallen prey to this scam?
Once they became aware of the scheme, the American Red Cross and the FTC notified military personnel about the problem, including her son's wife, but she was totally unaware, and perhaps that's why they targeted the mother, knowing she might not be privy to that information.
"Identity theft on members of the military has surged in recent years, experts say, with twinning issues that put them especially at risk: long deployments away from home and their Social Security numbers, their main form of identification, tacked all over the place. "They will put it right on their bunks," said Justin Yurek, an identity theft specialist who recently testified before a congressional subcommittee."
As if our soldiers don't have enough to worry about, a bunch of reprobates, in some back office out there, are sitting hatching ways to fleece our military guys and gals out of the little they have, by stealing their identities. Totally despicable!