As I am sure everyone is well aware, there are a great number of troops from the US, Britain and several other countries serving in Iraq and the surrounding area at this point in time.
These men and women are putting their lives on the line every day in order to try to bring some level of stability and security to the region following the toppling of Sadam Hussein’s regime.
So I guess it’s somewhat unfortunate, to say the least, that these sevicemen have become the target for the latest scam, one that has identity theft at it’s core.
The basic premise of this scam is that the criminal behind it will identify someone serving in Iraq (or other war torn country for that matter) and will then track down the telephone number for a close relative back home.
Relying on the power of strong emotions to cloud their mark’s thinking, they thing make a phone call to the soldier’s relative.
Posing as a Red Cross worker they sympathise with the relative when they tell them that their son / husband / sister, or whatever, has been killed in action.
Whilst most relatives of servicemen are aware that they would be informed of a death directly by the military, via a home visit, the shock of such a revelation over the telephone may well wrong foot them.
The scammer goes on to say that they are having problems identifying the body and need further information to verify against their dog tags before they can release the body.
They simply need the deceased’s date of birth and social security number for verification purposes.
For those of you who have already read up on identity theft, you will realise that this information would be sufficient for the scammer to assume the identity of the soldier in question.
The American Red Cross has recently released an advisory, stating that they never release casualty information to families.