The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command is once again warning Soldiers and the Army community to be on the lookout for “online scams” where criminals will try a myriad of tactics where unsuspecting victims can lose money, have their identity stolen, be extorted, or have their photographs posted without consent.
Perpetrators conduct various schemes that leverage unsuspecting victims for retribution, financial gain or other forms of blackmail. One scam is to post images or videos without the victims’ permission for the sole purpose of settling of scores. Another scam that criminals will use is to engage in online sexual activities with unsuspecting servicemembers, and then demand money or favors in exchange for not publicizing potentially embarrassing information. The most common scam is when the victim claims they are “in a relationship” with an American Soldier, when in fact their love interest is an online scammer, who hustled them out of their money and emotions.
According to CID officials, online users must be vigilant in protecting their online identities and personal information. They must also be cautious of their online communications and be extremely careful when sharing any type of personal information. Always remember that once items are posted online they will live on forever, so be mindful of your online presence and those who you associate with.
These various scams can have a devastating impact, causing emotional distress, humiliation, and even economic harm when it affects a victim’s employment and lifestyle. Unfortunately, these incidents continue to occur across the globe, and victims are encouraged to seek the assistance of law enforcement.
If you have been the victim of any online scam, please adhere to the following:
• DO NOT send money to the scammer(s). CID is aware of instances where scammers threatened to release compromising videos or photos unless they receive extortion money.
• DO NOT continue to correspond with the scammer(s).
• DO preserve whatever information you have from the scammer(s), such as social networking profile, email accounts used, where money was directed to be sent, etc.
• DO notify CID if you have direct knowledge that explicit photos and videos were taken without your consent, contact Army CID at 1-844-ARMY-CID (844-276-9243) or email CID at Army.CID.Crime.Tips@mail.mil.
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 http://www.cid.army.mil/cciu-advisories.html.
For more information on CID or to report a felony-level crime or provide information concerning a crime, contact your local CID Office or the Military Police or visit www.cid.army.mil.