Scams: If It Seems Too Awesome, It Is

Pentagon officials this month warned military servicemembers and families of a phishing site aimed at stealing servicemembers' official email accounts and passwords.

The site, which has since been taken down, was UsMilitaryBenefit.org, and appeared aimed at mirroring as US Army official site called "MyArmyBenefits," which allows CaC or AKO users to log-in and retrieve information about their benefits.

The fake site did what fake sites often do -- promised users access to money. In this case Active Duty soldiers were supposedly able to use the site gain access to unclaimed and accumulated benefits.

This is just the most recent in a long string of scams aimed at servicemembers, their family or their supporters. Take, for example, this scam from last year. It included emails claiming to be from official sources and asked users to provide financial data and personal information.

And then there are the romance scammers. These individuals steal photos of servicemembers from places like Facebook, match them with a fake name and get to work. "I need money so I can come home on R&R!" or "the military won't me leave Iraq unless I pay!"

While officials with the military's criminal investigation division (CID) have said they don't know of any servicemembers financially injured as a result of these scams, plenty of people are.

"The victims, though, have lost thousands in these scams, officials said. In one extreme example, a woman from New York took out a second mortgage on her home to get money to help her "Soldier." She lost more than $60,000. More recently, a woman from the United Kingdom told CID officials she had sent more than $75,000 to the con artists."
If scams didn't work, no one would run them. But they do, and it's because unsuspecting servicemembers or love-lorn civilians want something that is too good to be true.

You don't have to be one of these people who gets suckered into this stuff, though. By following these simple rules you can avoid being scammed.

How to Tell It's a Scam:

-- If  a "servicemember" asks you for money so that he can travel, come home, call or pretty much any other reason? Scam.

-- If a "servicemember" or  someone claiming to represent the US Government asks you to wire any money over Western Union ... Scam.

-- If a "servicemember" or someone claiming to represent the US Government asks for your bank account information it is a scam.

-- If you receive unsolicited emails or texts from a "government" website asking you to submit personal information in exchange for money, benefits or other perks ... scam!

-- If a website or person not directed to you through an official source promises you surprise money or benefits you didn't know you were entitled to ... scam.

Defense Department officials also said that scam websites are easy to spot "because they usually involve unsolicited emails or text messages. Hoax websites often contain misspelled words and punctuation and grammatical errors, and often ask for private information such as an email address and password."

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