YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan — People are posing as American Red Cross representatives in an attempt to obtain personal information from families of deployed servicemembers, the Red Cross is warning.

In one reported scam, a caller claiming to be a Red Cross representative told a woman that her husband had been injured in Iraq and was flown to Germany to receive medical treatment, the agency said in a news release.

The caller then told the woman that in order to complete the necessary paperwork for her husband’s treatment, she would need to verify his Social Security number and date of birth.

In that case the woman recognized it as a scam and did not provide any information, the release said.

However, the Red Cross is advising families to stay on guard against similar scams and know one very important fact: The Department of Defense, not the Red Cross, is responsible for reporting causality information to families, explained Jane Dustman, the Asian/Pacific Hub manager for the American Red Cross Armed Forces Emergency Services Department.

According to the Red Cross Web site, the emergency communications the organization sends are to military personnel on behalf of family members to inform them about deaths in the family, serious illness or childbirth.

“If there is an emergency message that we have to deliver, the Red Cross normally would go through the chain of command, first sergeant channel or employer first,” Dustman said.

She added that she does not know of anyone attempting this scam in the Pacific region, but warned families to not give out personal information over the phone to anyone they don’t know.

“It is a federal offense, punishable by up to five years in prison, to falsely pretend to be a member of the American Red Cross for the purpose of soliciting, collecting or recieving money or material,” the press release stated.

For more information about the American Red Cross, go to

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now