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Friday, June 01, 2007

Scam Uses Red Cross Name to Defraud Military SpousesScam Uses Red Cross Name to Defraud Military Spouses

The American Red Cross reported this week that an individual or group of individuals are fraudulently using the Red Cross' name in a scam to steal military spouses identities.

According to the organization, a person with an American accent will call a military spouse, identify herself as a Red Cross representative and tell the spouse that her husband was hurt in Iraq and evacuated to Germany.

The caller then says that doctors can't start treatment until paperwork is completed, and that to start the paperwork they need the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth.

Devorah Goldburg, a Red Cross spokesperson, said it was difficult to determine the number of people targeted by the scam, but one confirmed report was enough.

"We know that it happened to one person; it was probably going to happen to others, and we wanted to be prudent and alert people," she said.

Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members or dependents directly and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant.

Officials also urge military family members not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown individuals, including confirmation that their spouse is deployed.

In addition, Red Cross representatives contact military members or dependents directly only in response to an emergency message initiated by a family member. For more information, spouses can visit the Red Cross Web site at Red Cross.

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