The American Red Cross has learned about a new scam targeting military families. This scam attempts to gain personal information and takes the following form:

The American Red Cross has learned about a new scam targeting military families.
This scam attempts to gain personal information and takes the following form:

The caller (a young-sounding female with an American accent) phones a military spouse and identifies herself as a representative from the Red Cross. The caller states that the spouse's husband (not identified by name) was hurt while on duty in Iraq and was evacuated to a hospital in Germany.

The caller states that medical personnel can't start treatment until paperwork is completed. To start the paperwork, the caller asks the spouse to verify her husband's Social Security number and date of birth.

The American Red Cross reports that its representatives typically do not contact military members or dependents directly and almost always go through commander or first sergeant channels.

Military family members are urged to avoid giving out any personal and deployment information over the phone if contacted by unknown or unverified individuals.

It is a federal crime, punishable by up to five years in prison, for a person to falsely or fraudulently pretend to be a member of or an agent for the American National Red Cross for the purpose of soliciting, collecting or receiving money.

Red Cross representatives will contact military members or dependents directly only in response to an emergency message initiated by the family.