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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Saturday, June 2, 2007

Military families target of identity theft scam

Advertiser Staff

The national American Red Cross has issued a warning about a scam targeting military families.

In the scam, a caller contacts a military spouse and identifies herself as a Red Cross representative. The caller says the spouse's husband was hurt while on duty in Iraq and was evacuated to a hospital in Germany.

The caller then says they couldn't start treatment until paperwork was completed, and that in order to do that they needed the spouse to verify her husband's Social Security number and date of birth.

The American Red Cross said its representatives usually don't contact military members or dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or a first sergeant. Representatives will contact military members or dependents directly only in response to an emergency message initiated by the family, it said.

The Red Cross also said it does not report any type of casualty information to family members.

The Red Cross urges military family members not to release any personal information over the phone to unknown individuals, including confirmation that a spouse is deployed. Military family members are also urged to report any such calls to their local Family Readiness Group or Military Personnel Office.

The American Red Cross-Hawai'i State Chapter has not received any reports of such scams, CEO Coralie Chun Matayoshi said yesterday.