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Minnesota National Guard
E-mail scam deploys fake Soldier

Latest scam purports to be from an Army engineer stationed in Iraq

Goodbye, Nigerian princess So long, foreign lottery director You've been replaced by a US soldier in a war zone

The latest e-mail scam -- seeking "a partner to handle the receiving of some funds" -- purports to be from an Army engineer stationed in Iraq The come-on, which recently landed in the Star Tribune's in-box, contains strikingly similar terminology and tone, even the same broken English, as previous bogus efforts to part recipients and their money

"Somebody has decided to play off the good nature of people and good standing that the military enjoys with the US public," said Capt John Donovan of the Minnesota National Guard

Chris Veltsos, who teaches information security classes at Minnesota State University, Mankato, calls it "a social engineering ploy"

"People might be reluctant to trust a foreign national who's got a lot of money," he said "They're playing on the trust we have of military men and women and getting us to lower our defense mechanisms"

The US Army's Criminal Investigation Command warned of such solicitations last year "These are not soldiers; they are thieves," spokesman Chris Grey said

In such e-mail scams, gullible people who reply are typically asked to send money to the unknown sender with the expectation of getting much more money in return They never do

By the way, Donovan said there is help for real Minnesota soldiers who find themselves in financial difficulty They include the Minnesota Family Foundation and the VFW's Unmet Needs program

People who receive such e-mails can visit the Internet Crime Complaint Center (wwwic3gov) -- before or after they hit "delete"

Star Tribune
Last update: January 17, 2011 - 4:44 PM

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