10 Feb Not Even the Military Is Immune from Identity Theft
Not Even the Military Is Immune from Identity Theft
After facing insurgents, terrorists and tribal militias, U.S. military personnel are now facing a threat from a new source: online scammers.
Former Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, retired Gen. Stanley McChrystal and Lt. Gen. Curtis “Mike” Scaparrotti, the former commander of U.S. Forces Korea, are among those whose identities have been stolen and used by the perpetrators of an Internet romance scam. A bogus website – usmilitarybenefit.org – was recently created to fraudulently collect the Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email accounts and passwords of Army personnel. In a recent hacking case with international implications, nearly 6,000 email addresses and PayPal accounts were compromised.
For criminals, the Internet provides an endless stream of potential victims – including those who are in uniform. Army Criminal Investigation Command (CID) continually receives reports of identity theft and Internet scams perpetrated by cyber criminals operating throughout the world. In some cases, unprincipled scammers and crooks have even stolen the identities of American soldiers killed in action and the crooks. The Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have coordinated with various international law-enforcement agencies on cases related to computer hacking and fraud while the Department of Defense has taken steps to help ensure that the social security numbers of military personnel are safeguarded.
Cybercrime and Internet fraud present unique challenges to law enforcement. Criminals mask their identities and locations. Websites, email accounts and online profiles can be easily established and just as easily deleted, allowing scam artists to cover their tracks before investigators close in. Because cybercrime is so hard to crack down on, awareness is key to combating the threat.
There is nothing to be ashamed of if you have been the victim of an online scam or if your identity has been stolen. If the American military isn’t immune to these threats, how can you possibly blame yourself?
And you’re not alone – estimates indicate that more than 13 million people are the victims of identity theft every year. The problem is especially prevalent in the Sunshine State, where BI Group’s Florida private investigators are not afraid to take on the hard cases – and identity theft is definitely among the hardest cases to solve. Law enforcement often doesn’t have the resources to apply to this seemingly overwhelming problem, but we do.
The internet is rife with scams – from ransomware to romance scams. Romance scams are a type of scam referred to as catfishing. “The victim is usually a user of social media or a member of an online dating site. The scammer will reach out to the victim with offers of friendship that very quickly evolve into declarations of love. Unfortunately, the scammer is almost never who they portray themselves to be and often their only goal is to trick the victim into sending them money,” the Better Business Bureau explains.
“If you’ve fallen victim, don’t be afraid to talk about it,” the Better Business Bureau says. “Scammers count on this fear because your knowledge is power. Informed consumers are much harder to deceive.”
You can talk to the trained Florida private investigators at the BI Group. Whether you need a private investigator in Gainesville, FL to try to track down the cybercriminals who attacked you or your family or a private investigator in Palm Bay, FL with the unique insights to take on a cyber investigation, we have three offices to serve you. Jacksonville Beach and Ormond Beach as well as Green Cove Springs, where you will find a private investigator for St. Augustine, FL cases.