CID warns Army community about social media scams

| March 22, 2018 | 0 Comments

CIDLatest criminal activity is making impersonations of Soldiers

Criminal Investigation Command
News Release

QUANTICO, Virginia — U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command’s (CID) Computer Crime Investigative Unit (CCIU) is once again warning Soldiers and the Army community to be on the lookout for “social media scams” where cybercriminals impersonate service members by using actual and fictitious information, not just for “trust-based relationship scams,” also known as Romance Scams, but for other impersonation crimes, such as sales schemes and advance fee schemes.

“By monitoring your social media identity, you can protect your Army family and your reputation,” said Special Agent Daniel Andrews, CCIU director. “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.”

Frequently, CID receives notifications from individuals stating they were scammed online by someone claiming to be a Soldier, but in reality, it was an online scammer who has used an unsuspected Soldier’s name and available social media photos to commit a crime.

No one is immune from becoming a victim. Scammers steal the identity of senior officers, enlisted personnel and civilians. Scammers, using this information from legitimate profiles, will capitalize on the trustworthy reputation of individuals associated with the Army.

According to experts, mitigating fraudulent social media is not simple, and there is no definitive way to stop criminals from using your personal data and photos. CID officials say that the ideal solution is to limit the details you provide about yourself in your social media profile. Additionally, Soldiers should take of advantage of all security and safety features and protocols offered on their social media accounts.Another tip is to routinely search 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.

“Carefully scrutinize the pictures you post of yourself or are posted by others for revealing details like your name tag, unit patch and rank,” Andrews said. “Creating a profile display name other than your actual name makes it more difficult for people who do not know you well to find your profile and fraudulently use your social media identity.”

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 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.”

“Always remember that effectively searching yourself requires creativity because of the misspelled names and other identifying information slightly different to disguise the criminal activity or just because the scammer doesn’t have command of the English language,” CID officials said. “Criminals will hijack photographs found on the Soldiers’ official and personal social media page and create a similar or identical biography.”

More Details
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.

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