Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Air Force advises using caution for online family members of deployed military members


A recent study conducted by the U.S. Air Force found that social networking sites are being used to victimize family members of U.S. military members serving overseas.
The study, released June 27, 2009 by AFNORTH and HQ 1st Air Force, explored access to personal information on Facebook, and the rising instance of fraud being perpetrated via similar social media sites.
The study found grandparents of deployed service members who were being contacted through Facebook under the guise of being their grandson or granddaughter returning home on leave from Iraq. The "soldier" asks the family member to keep their presence secret so they can surprise the parents.
The "soldier" then says he is stranded because their buddy's car has broken down. They request several thousand dollars be wired to the buddy to cover the cost of car repairs.
The study found an alarming amount of personal data available through social networking sites like Facebook. Scammers have begun utilizing social engineering to target relatives of service members, exploiting the trusting nature and limited contact that most grandparents have with their adult grandchildren.
Military members are advised to inform all relatives to verify the identity of anyone who contacts them by asking specific questions known only to that person before wiring funds on their behalf. They should also provide family members with a codeword or phrase to verify their identity.
Service members and their families are also advised to review their profiles on Facebook or MySpace, and remove any information which can be used by Internet scammers.
Posted by Tech. Sgt. Nick Choy,
Oregon Military Department Social Media Manager

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