BBB warns of military benefits scam
Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 20, 2014
The Better Business Bureau Military Line is sharing information from the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CIC) warning about a new website scam in which criminals are attempting to take advantage of soldiers and their families.
The “My Army Benefits” website at usmilitarybenifit.org is a fraudulent site designed to “collect soldiers’ Army knowledge online, email accounts and passwords.” The site also falsely claims that “the U.S. military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated benefits for active duty soldiers, and that benefits not claimed within the stipulated period will be available for claims after 60 months,” according to investigators.
The website is not affiliated or endorsed by the U.S. Army. The Army’s official website is “MyArmyBenefits” at myarmybenefits.us.army.mil.
“Official military websites will all have the .mil domain name,” notes BBB Military Line director Brenda Linnington. “Any other domain extension should be a red flag.” Other red flags include unsolicited emails or text messages; spelling, punctuation and grammar errors; requests for private information such as email addresses or passwords.
Fraudulent websites come and go quickly (and it appears this one may have been taken down already), but others pop up in their place. Service personnel, family members and veterans need to be especially alert to scams that target them. “Unfortunately, we hear about new ones almost every day,” says Linnington.
CIC provided the following advice for anyone who has received correspondence from the My Army benefits website or provided information through it:
• Do not log in to the website;
• Do not respond to any emails;
• Stop all contact if you have previously responded to any emails; and
• Immediately contact your local information assurance office if you accessed the website from a government computer or system.
Since 2004, BBB Military Line has provided free resources to military communities in the areas of financial literacy and consumer protection through the efforts of local BBBs across the U.S. Visit bbb.org/military for more information.