Military Paychecks Stolen in Identity Theft Scam
November 13, 2012
Jackie here. If you’re anything like me, payday is day worth looking forward to. I love checking my bank account and seeing my balance finally go up instead of down like it usually does. Payday is an important day at my house and I can’t imagine what I would do if my electronically deposited check never arrived. Unfortunately for four military families stationed at Ft. Bragg, their paychecks were diverted to accounts that weren’t theirs as a result of identity theft.
Here’s what happened. One soldier stationed at Ft. Bragg was checking his leave and earnings statement a few days before his scheduled payroll deposit. He noticed the deposit was heading to Bancorp Bank, rather than his usual account at USAA. He alerted the government and an attempt was made to retrieve the money before the deposit, but it was unsuccessful. The entire paycheck was sent to the wrong bank where it was promptly transferred to a prepaid Visa card. Similar stories occurred to three other soldiers stationed at the same base.
Experts assume that this id theft occurred as a result of keystroke logging malware. The military uses a system called MyPay to manage paychecks, leave, etc. If the login information for the military’s MyPay system was compromised, the thieves could log in to others’ accounts and change direct deposit information. It is also possible that the victims willingly (although unknowingly) provided the information through an email phishing scam. Whatever the case, it is unknown who will be financially responsible for the loss, the government or the soldiers.
Technically anyone with a direct deposit paycheck could fall victim to a scam like this. Whether you are in the military or not it is important to protect your banking and other financial passwords carefully. Check your accounts regularly and always be on the lookout for signs of id theft. You learn more about the Ft. Bragg story here.