A fake deployment letter urging friends and families to make a payment in order to contact loved ones overseas is making the rounds on Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“This is a scam,” post officials said in a Facebook post Thursday morning.
“It was brought to our attention that a fake deployment letter signed by the Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Kyle Reed is making its rounds encouraging Families and friends of deployed service members to subscribe to a website called MilVPN-Usaf," the social media post reads.
"The scam website attempts to deceive families/friends to register, select a plan, and make a payment in an effort to contact service members while deployed.”
Army officials said family members who want to send letters or connect with loved ones while deployed should do so through official channels.
“Online offenders will go to great lengths to deceive unsuspecting users out of money and their identity," the Fort Bragg Facebook post reads. "For family members who would like to get more information about contacting their service members while abroad, contact your spouse’s unit Family Readiness Liaison or chain of command.”
U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command says it receives hundreds of reports each month from individuals who have fallen victim to scams involving criminals impersonating U.S. soldiers over the internet.
Never send money to someone claiming to be a soldier, CID said. Oftentimes these scams involve a romance or dating angle to the grift.
However, the scam could also be perpetrated through extortion, blackmail, or — as appears to be the case with this Fort Bragg letter — taking advantage of families new to deployment situations.
“The most common scheme involves criminals, often from other countries — most notably from West African countries — pretending to be U.S. soldiers serving in a combat zone or other overseas location,” CID’s social media scam website reads. “These crooks often present documents and other ‘proof’ of their financial need when asking their victims to wire money to them.”