Recently there has been an upsurge of identity theft involving military payroll payments. These payments are handled by the Defense Finance and Accounting Service, often referred to as DFAS, which processes payments for more than six million military personnel. What is occurring is that identity thieves are stealing the login information used by military personnel who go to the military payroll’s website myPay. Once the identity thieves have this information, they are able to access the accounts of individual military personnel and change where the funds are to be deposited electronically by DFAS, causing the payments to be diverted to bank accounts and prepaid credit cards of the scammers. Recently there have been a number of these cases occurring at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. The case of one soldier in particular, that of Stephen Redmon is an example of how difficult it can be for soldiers to fix the problem after they have become victimized by identity thieves. Redmon’s September 14th check was diverted to Bancorp Bank where it was converted into prepaid debit cards. To date, federal investigators have still not determined whether or not the federal government will reimburse Redmon for the money lost.
Captain Redmon’s identity was stolen when he accessed his myPay account at either his home computer, his smart phone or a computer he used at the library at Fort Bragg. All of these present security issues. Home computers are often infiltrated, as I have warned you, by family members downloading dangerous keystroke logging malware that once downloaded can steal all of the information from your computer including, in this case, login information and the password for Captain Redmon’s myPay account. This malware often is downloaded unwittingly when someone clicks on a link in an email or a website that may promise free games, free music or other lures to get you click on phony and dangerous links. The use of Wifi without proper software security programs also presents serious danger of having your information stolen. Many people do not protect their smart phones or other portable devices with proper security software despite the fact that they use them for private financial matters. This is an important thing to do. Finally, public computers, such as library computers should never be used for personal financial transactions as these computers are often targeted by identity thieves for downloading keystroke logging programs to capture the information of people who use these computers.