Cyber criminals usually pose as service members looking for love — and money — from unsuspecting victims, but Army Criminal Investigation Command is also warning soldiers of sales and advance-fee schemes.
In the sales schemes, victims are offered goods, usually high-priced ones, below market value. These scams often involve vehicles, house rentals or other costly purchases. The scammer pretends they have to deploy soon, which is why they need to quickly sell the item, CID said in a release.
Once the scammer receives the money, the victim doesn’t hear from them again.
Advance-fee schemes defraud victims by promising big profits in exchange for help moving large sums of money. The scammers say they will move large amounts of money into the victim’s bank account in exchange for a small fee.
CID’s Computer Crime Investigating Unit said by monitoring your social-media identity, you can protect yourself, your reputation and others in the Army community.
“The criminals will use factual data from official websites and soldiers’ personal social-media sites, then prey on vulnerable people’s trusting nature and willingness to help the soldier,” special agent Daniel Andrews, CCIU director, said in the release.
The FBI is investigating after a 70-year-old Oklahoma woman said she was duped out of more than $225,000 by someone posing online as a U.S. Army general stationed in Syria.
Army CID frequently receives notifications from people who say they were scammed online by someone claiming to be a soldier. In reality, it was someone who used a soldier’s name and photos.
There’s no definitive way to stop criminals from using someone’s personal data and photos, so CID officials suggest limiting the details you provide on your social-media profiles.
Another tip is to search your name on various social-media platforms or perform an image search to see if someone has taken your photos but made up a different name.
“Carefully scrutinize the pictures you post of yourself or are posted by others for revealing details like your name tag, unit patch and rank,” Andrews said in the release. “Creating a profile display name other than your actual name makes it more difficult for people who do not know you well to find your profile and fraudulently use your social media identity.”
If you find that someone is trying to impersonate you, CID recommends contacting the social-media platform to report the fake profile.