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An Army benefits website scam is making the rounds, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command.
If you've seen the misppelled Web address USMilitaryBenifit.org, ignore it -- it's not an official U.S. Army website, the military warns. The bogus website claims to provide information about benefits, but it's actually not endorsed by the Army.
Soldiers, Army civilians, retirees, and even relatives of service members should take heed to avoid the website and ignore any information on it. It's also advisable to immediately delete any suspicious or unsolicited emails regarding the scam website, without responding to those messages.
Army Benefits Scam
The primary purpose of the fraudulent site is to collect U.S. Army service members' Army Knowledge Online, or AKO, email accounts and passwords, officials say.
The fake website also makes the false claim that the U.S. military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated benefits for active duty soldiers, including the following language: "The U.S. military has granted access to unclaimed and accumulated army benefits for the under listed active duty soldiers. Benefits not claimed within the stipulated period will be available for claims after 60 months." Again, this information is false, the Army says.
Official Benefits Website
The Army does, however, maintain an official benefits website called "MyArmyBenefits" at http://myarmybenefits.us.army.mil that is operated by the service's Retirement Services Office.
It is still the go-to source for all benefits and services available to soldiers and their families. Soldiers and former service members are required to use either their CAC or AKO login information to access the official website.
Red Flags of Scam Website
Most online scam attempts are easily recognizable as they are usually unsolicited emails or texts. Hoax websites typically contain misspelled words, punctuation and grammatical errors, and often ask for private information, such as an individual's email address and password.
In this case, you may have noticed the incorrect spelling of "benefit" in the website's URL, "USMilitaryBenifit.org." That's a classic red flag of a scam. In addition, notice that the bogus website ends in ".org" while the official website ends in ".mil."
What to Do
If you received correspondence from the bogus benefits website or provided information through it, here are some steps you may want to take:
Meeting with a lawyer can help you understand your options and how to best protect your rights. Visit our attorney directory to find a lawyer near you who can help.