CHICAGO, IL –February 25, 2014 – Members of the military and their families are the targets of a new scam using a website attempting to collect their personal and BB) and the U.S. Army’s Criminal Investigation Command (CIC).
The website is called "My Army Benefits" and is a fraudulent site designed to “collect soldiers' Army Knowledge Online, email accounts and passwords,” according to the BBB. 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”. The website is not affiliated or endorsed by the U.S. Army.
"This new website scam is an attempt to use a website name that is very close to the Army’s official website of "MyArmyBenefits" at myarmybenefits.us.army.mil,"explained Steve J. Bernas, president and CEO of the Better Business Bureau serving Chicago and Northern Illinois.
“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 are being taken down all the time.Unfortunately, new ones are constantly being created. We hear about new ones almost every day,” Linnington said. "Service personnel and veterans, as well as family members, need to be on the lookout for scams that target them."
The Army's CIC provided the following advice for anyone who has received correspondence from the fraudulent 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.
Bernas explained that the BBB Military Line was formed in 2004 to provide free resources in the areas of financial literacy and consumer protection to U.S. military communities through local BBBs across the U.S. and at bbb.org/military. In the Chicago area, the BBB works with representatives at Naval Station Great Lakes in the northern Chicago suburb of Great Lakes.
As a private, non-profit organization, the purpose of the Better Business Bureau is to promote an ethical marketplace. BBBs help resolve buyer/seller complaints by means of conciliation, mediation and arbitration. BBBs also review advertising claims, online business practices and charitable organizations. BBBs develop and issue reports on businesses and nonprofit organizations and encourage people to check out a company or charity before making a purchase or donation.