New scam targets military families
The phone rang in the middle of the night, and Dollie Durban of Williamson County heard the worst possible news: her son had been seriously injured in Iraq. As soon as the caller said he represented the Red Cross and asked for money, Durban knew it was a lie.
“We’re worried sick about our soldiers,” said Durban. “How could somebody do that?”
the call, Durban notified the American Red Cross about the call so the organization could alert other military families and could refer the case to the proper authorities.
“The American Red Cross of Central Texas is dedicated to supporting our service men and women,” said Derrick Chubbs, executive director of the American Red Cross of Central Texas. “Just last year, we provided 1,836 services to military families, which included emergency communications, counseling, referrals, and other services. I want everyone to understand that The American Red Cross will NOT be notified of any casualty until ALL next-of-kin have been notified. Then, we’ll be there to support the family in any way we can.”
Durbin, a former service member herself, cautions military families to take any questions or concerns to the military support services.
“You won’t receive a phone call from the Red Cross,” said Durbin. “It will be a knock on the door from the military, and they’ll make sure you’re not alone.”
The American Red Cross of Central Texas encourages everyone to think before they act. Neither the military nor the American Red Cross will call asking for any personal details about military family members; they will not call in the middle of the night and ask for money to care for loved ones. Anyone who receives a suspicious call should get as much information as possible from the caller and report the fraud to the American Red Cross and to local authorities.
Reports to the Red Cross can be made by calling locally (512) 929-1234, toll free, at (888) 309-9679 or by email at FraudAlert@usa.redcross.org. The Lockhart Police Department can be reached at (512) 398-4401, and the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Department can be reached at (512) 398-6777.
(Courtesy of Elaine Acker)