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Social Networking Sites Victimizing Families of Deployed U.S. Military Personnel

Press Release

The Kansas City Division is issuing information regarding a new scam involving the victimization of families of deployed U.S Military personnel through social networking sites. Significant personal data is available through these sites which users join by city, workplace, school and region to connect and interact with other people. The scam involves individuals using these social networking sites to contact relatives of deployed U.S. military personnel, most specifically grandparents. The impostor advises the grandparents that he is returning home on leave from Iraq and asks the grandparents to keep his presence secret so he can surprise his parents. A short time later, the grandparents are again contacted and the impostor advises them that he and a friend are stranded with a broken down car. He then asks the grandparents to wire a significant amount of money to cover the cost of the repairs.

http://kansascity.fbi.gov/pressrel/pressrel09/kc062409.htm

For Immediate Release
June 24, 2009

As always, caution is advised regarding the posting and protection of personal information on public websites. It is recommended that family members of U.S. Military visit social networking sites in which they have accounts to ensure that no exploitable information is available.

Additionally, it is recommended that all relatives should verify the identity of anyone who contacts them by asking specific questions known only to that person if you must wire funds or develop a code word or phrase to verify identity.

FBI Kansas City
Contact: Public Affairs Specialist Bridget Patton
(816) 512-8200