U.S. Army Criminal Investigative Command
QUANTICO, Va. – U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s Computer Crime Investigative Unit is once again warning against social media scams where cybercriminals impersonate service members by using actual and fictitious information.
“By monitoring your social media identity, you can protect your Army Family and your reputation,” said Special Agent Marc Martin, deputy director of operations for CCIU. “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.”
Mitigating fraudulent social media accounts can simply start with searching for your name on various social media platforms. Since scammers may use your photo but change the name, you should also conduct an image search of your social media profile pictures.
If you find yourself or a Family member being impersonated online, CID warns that you should take immediate steps to have the fraudulent sites removed. Victims should immediately contact the social media platform (company) and report the false profile.
Keep in mind that criminals create impersonation accounts to look just like the real account of a service member by using very similarly spelled names and replacing characters with dashes, spaces, and/or homoglyph characters. Be on the lookout for simple changes such as zeros (0) used instead of the letter “O” or a number one (1) instead of the letter “l.”
Confidence Based/Romance Relationship: Scammers defraud victims by pretending to be service members seeking romance or in need of emotional support and companionship. They gather enough detailed personal information to concoct believable stories tailored to lure unsuspecting victims into sending money to help them with transportation costs, marriage processing expenses, medical fees, communication fees such as laptops and satellite telephones. They typically promise to repay the victim when they finally meet; however, once the victim stops sending money, the scammer is not heard from again.
Sales Schemes: A scammer advertises an item for sale, at a to-good-to-be-true price. A person showing interest is soon contacted by the “seller” who claims to be a service member with a military unit that is being deployed abroad. The scammer uses the pending deployment to explain the need for a quick sale and, hence, the below market sales price. The scammer insists that money changes hands quickly using some untraceable and irrevocable means such as Western Union, MoneyGram or gift cards. The merchandise is never received and the scammer is not heard from again.
For more information about computer security, other computer-related scams and to review previous cyber-crime alert notices and cyber-crime prevention flyers visit the Army CID website at https://www.cid.army.mil/cciu-advisories.html.