Don't be a victim-Avoid scams against Family members of the deployed
June 25, 2009
FORT CARSON, Colo.-Spouses, parents and grandparents are often proud when a family member is deployed, but displaying bumper stickers like "Half of my heart is in Iraq" is not a safe way to show it. Telling to many people about a Soldier's deployment might make a Family member a target for a scam.
Grandparents of a 4th Infantry Division private were notified that while their grandson was on his way to Iraq, he, along with other Soldiers, had been arrested in a Toronto airport. The callers urged the grandparents to send $4,500 for bail to release their grandson. The grandmother almost sent money before deciding the situation sounded suspicion and notified the police. After investigation, the family learned their grandson was already in Iraq and the call had been a scam.
The family contacted Fort Carson to warm others about the possibility of scams.
"Understand there are people out there that mean to do you harm and are looking for advantages," Operation Security Installation Manger Terrence Wimberly said.
OPSEC encourages Family members to be aware of the information they are giving out in order to avoid scams. OPSEC suggest that Family members avoiding talking about deployment specifics in public. Wimberly advised against mentioning dates and time of deployments since this information can be used for scamming purposes. OPSEC also cautions soldiers and Family members to be careful on the internet, especially on social-networking sites. They recommend against posting any public information suggestion a family member is over seas.
"A little piece from here and a little piece from there and another little piece can make a big picture. It can help someone find something to exploit," Wimberly said.
Wimberly also recommended keeping extended family on a need-to-know basis. Wimberly suggested the less people who know the specifics of a deployment, the less likely it is for the information to be picked up by a scammer.
If Family members feel as if they are being scammed, they should notify the authorities. If the Family members are civilians, they should notify their local police who will in turn notify military police so they can investigate. If the person who is suspicious of a scam is military or lives on post, they can notify the MPs directly.
Each unit also has a security office who can be contacted if a Family member feels they are being beguiled.
"If it doesn't feel right or it doesn't pass the common sense test, don't do it," Wimberly said.