Army CID warns of benefits website scam
- By Joey Cheng
- Feb 07, 2014
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Command is alerting the Army community to a website scam that is masquerading as an official website. Criminals are potentially using the website to steal information from soldiers and their families.
The website, which used the “www.usmilitarybenifit.org” address (note the misspelling of “benefit” in the title), has been taken down since the CID issued its warning this morning. The site claimed to be the official Army benefits website, but had no actual affiliation or endorsement with the Army.
The real My Army Benefits website is located at http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil/.
CID said that the intent of the website was to collect soldiers’ Army Knowledge Online (AKO) email accounts and passwords. AKO provides corporate intranet services and email, directory services, blogs, file storage, instant messenger and chat capabilities. All members of the military services, Reserves and National Guard, as well as civilian employees, select contractors, retirees and family members have an account.
The website falsely claimed that, "The U.S. military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated army benefits for the under listed active duty Soldiers. Benefits not claimed within the stipulated period will be available for claims after 60 months."
CID recommended that the website be avoided and to ignore any information posted on it, and that anyone who receives any suspicious or unsolicited email delete them immediately without response.
If you have already provided information to or received any correspondence from the website, or a similar suspect site, CID recommends you take the following steps:
- Do not log into the website.
- Do not respond to any emails.
- Stop all contact if you have previously responded to any emails.
- Immediately contact your local Information Assurance (IA) office if you accessed the website from a government computer or system.
It is extremely difficult for law enforcement to identify and catch perpetrators of cyber-crime and internet fraud. Criminals can easily hide their true identities and location, and quickly create and delete websites and accounts before law enforcement can respond, CID said.
Most online fraud attempts come in the form of unsolicited emails or hoax websites. They often contain misspelled words, incorrect punctuation and grammar, and attempt to solicit private information such as email addresses and passwords. Fraud prevention begins on an individual level – individuals must stay alert to possible attempts and be personally responsible for their protection.
Joey Cheng is an editorial fellow with Defense Systems.