Scam Targets Families Of Service Members Killed In Action
Officials with the Department of Homeland Security are warning the public about two new Iraq-related Internet scams, including one directed at the relatives of fallen U.S. soldiers.
“These new Internet fraud schemes are among the worst we have ever encountered,” said Michael J. Garcia, assistant secretary of homeland security for immigration and customs enforcement. “Most troubling is the fact that some are targeting the relatives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. We are also concerned about the fact that these criminals are impersonating (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) agents and referring to ICE’s official Web site in an effort to steal money from Americans who have lost loved ones.”
The first scheme involves e-mail sent to relatives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq. Claiming to be a volunteer working with U.S. forces, the sender states that a late friend, who also was a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, was a very good friend of the relatives’ slain son or daughter. The sender then goes on to ask for assistance in obtaining funds kept for them by the deceased friend, promising more details when the relative responds to the e-mail. The sender then adds a link to the portion of Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s actual Web site discussing ICE operations in Iraq.
In the second scheme, a blanket e-mail is being distributed that claims to be from an Immigration and Customs Enforcement official in Iraq who is responsible for tracking down funds looted from the Iraqi Central Bank by Saddam Hussein’s son. The sender lists ICE’s Web site address in the e-mail in an effort to seem credible. The sender then asks for confirmation of the e-mail address of the recipient, stating, “there is a very important and confidential matter which I want us both to discuss.”
The ICE Cyber Crimes Center in northern Virginia, in conjunction with the ICE Office of Professional Responsibility here, is investigating the schemes. Those who receive the bogus e-mail solicitations should ignore and delete them, Garcia said.