The Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics has been alerted to a scam targeting the families of military staff. A caller contacts a spouse or another family member of a military staff person and identifies himself/herself as a representative of the American Red Cross. The caller states the military staff person has been injured while on duty in Iraq and is being or will be air-lifted to Germany for treatment and care. The caller may ask for additional information about the military staff person; for example, date of birth or social security number. In a subsequent call, the caller updates the family member and asks for a donation to the Red Cross to help cover the cost of the air-lift and medical care.
This is a scam using the Red Cross brand. American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members or military dependents when a service member has been injured or killed in action. Rather the service member’s Command or the casualty assistance branch of the respective Service contacts the primary next of kin when a service member has been injured or killed in action.
Military families are urged not to give out any personal information or money over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals, including confirmation that a family member is deployed. Should any military family member receive such a call, they are urged to report it to their local Family Readiness Group or Military Personnel Unit.
The American Red Cross ensures that the American people are in touch with their family members serving in the United States military by operating a communications network that is open 24/7. Through a network of employees and volunteers that link families during emergencies, the Red Cross provides communications for families left behind, assistance to veterans and preparedness courses for military personnel and their families. For more information or if you would like to make a donation to the Red Cross, only use the authorized Red Cross Website, www.redcross.org or www.icrc.org.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and counsels victims of disasters; provides nearly half of the nation's blood supply; teaches lifesaving skills; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a charitable organization – not a government agency – and depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its humanitarian mission. For more information, please visit www.redcross.org or join our blog at www.redcrosschat.org.