Military warns social media users of scammers pretending to be US commander in Afghanistan
By PHILLIP WALTER WELLMAN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 17, 2021
KABUL, Afghanistan — Scammers posing as the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan have used hundreds of social media accounts to try to defraud people in recent months, the military said.
U.S. Forces-Afghanistan has reported almost 900 fake accounts posing as Gen. Scott Miller on sites like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram this year alone, the command said Wednesday.
Scammers have also been active on platforms like Google Hangouts, Pinterest and the online Scrabble app Word Wars.
The accounts are largely used to trick people out of money and items like gift cards and cellphones, USFOR-A warned.
“Gen. Miller does NOT use public accounts on social media. Scammers are using his likeness & photos,” USFOR-A spokesman Col. Sonny Leggett said in a tweet.
Anyone contacted online by someone claiming to be Miller can report it to USFOR-A and block the account, Leggett said.
In response to the warning, Twitter user Lenna Dunagan said she had been contacted by nearly 60 Miller imposters on various platforms since May.
Dunagan said one of them ended up being a 29-year-old from Africa, but didn’t disclose how she got that information.
Another Twitter user, Elke Gloyer, said she’s reported fake accounts every day and likened the experience to an “endless war.”
“Yep. He’s on Word Wars right now trying to pick me up,” said Twitter user Robin Zell, referring to a Miller imposter on the word game app.
Gen. John Nicholson, who led troops in Afghanistan until September 2018, was also a target of impersonators, though it appears the attempts at fraud have increased under Miller.
Miller, the longest-serving commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, has mostly remained out of the public eye during his nearly two-and-a-half years in charge.
He was assigned a Twitter account for the position of USFOR-A and NATO Resolute Support commander with the handle @Commander_RS, which uses his name and photo. However, Miller has not posted a single tweet since taking command, and his only retweet was Leggett’s warning of fake profiles Tuesday.
“We certainly find this concerning, which is why we chose to alert the public via Twitter,” Leggett said in an email to Stars and Stripes. “It’s unfortunate scammers misrepresent themselves as Gen. Miller online for personal or financial gains.”
Anyone wishing to report a fake Miller account to USFOR-A can write to: firstname.lastname@example.org.