Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Scam: Identity theft scammers pretending to be Red Cross representatives target military families.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, May 2007]
Origins: Although many people have now become familiar enough with identity theft scams that they are properly wary of divulging sensitive personal or financial information to strangers, even the most cautious among us may let their guards down
We don't know how prevalent this scam really is (since all we've seen so far are anecdotal warnings, not any first-hand accounts from people who were actual victims or targets of scammers operating in this manner), but since the Red Cross has taken it seriously enough to issue a cautionary bulletin about it, we're passing it along here.
As the Red Cross notes, the type of phone call described in this warning is not one that legitimate representatives of that organization would ordinarily make under any circumstances:
The American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members/dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant channels. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals, [including] confirmation that your spouse is deployed.Last updated: 4 June 2007
In addition, American Red Cross representatives will contact military members/dependents directly only in response to an emergency message initiated by your family. The Red Cross does not report any type of casualty information to family members. The Department of Defense will contact families directly if their military member has been injured. Should any military family member receive such a call, they are urged to report it to their local Family Readiness Group or Military Personnel Flight.
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