A scam targeting new Army recruits is costing soldiers thousands of dollars, the service warns


Fraudsters conned dozens of new Army recruits out of more than $140,000 in a payroll scheme that tricked service members into sending cash through digital payment apps like Venmo, military officials said.

Several Army installations and the service academy at West Point have warned troops about a scam targeting enlisted soldiers “at multiple duty stations across the Army,” the US Army Fort Huachuca, Arizona, said in a Facebook post.

“The caller pretends to be [a non-commissioned officer] or with First Sgt [the Defense Finance and Accounting Service] or local finance office and requires payment via a peer-to-peer money transfer app to “eliminate the military payroll problem,” the post said.

Fort Huachuca military police say the scam has cost more than 74 victims and soldiers more than $143,000 so far. According to a fact sheet attached to the post, the scammers ask soldiers to settle their pay stubs using apps like Zelle, CashApp, Venmo, Apple Pay or PayPal, which the post warns the military never does.

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A US Army sergeant corrects a soldier during the first day of training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri.
(US Army photo by Stephen Standifield)

“The Defense Finance and Accounting Service (DFAS) or your local military disbursement office will never require a soldier to repay a loan or receive a refund through wire transfers,” the post said. “If you have received a similar call or are a victim of this scam, please contact your local military police or civilian law enforcement agency.”

Police said the scam appeared to target new soldiers, according to the Fort Benn, Georgia, post, where basic training takes place.

“Unidentified individuals appear to be targeting basic combat training (BCT), advanced individual training or new arrivals at their first duty station,” Fort Benn said in a Facebook post Wednesday. “Casualties have been identified across the military, among all components and in other uniformed services.”

US soldiers of the 330th Movement Control Battalion stand in formation.

US soldiers of the 330th Movement Control Battalion stand in formation.
(U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Joseph Aleman)

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The widespread nature of the scam also prompted West Point, the Army’s service academy, to issue a warning to cadets on Monday: “To date, West Point personnel have not been affected, but we want to make everyone aware of the methods they are using to target.” take and use soldiers.”

Army cadets salute as they walk onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Navy.

Army cadets salute as they walk onto the field before an NCAA college football game against Navy.
(AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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