21 May Stop Move Order
With many states still under stay-at-home orders, traveling seems to be something of the past. For some of us, the only traveling we do now is quick trips to the grocery store. But as isolated and restricted as some citizens may feel, fear not, you’re not missing out on anything. No one is going anywhere, the military included.
Effective April 20, the stop move order, which prevents any government-funded military travel, was extended to June 30 to further prevent the spread of COVID-19. Just like the rest of us, military personnel and their families are now in a state of limbo, patiently awaiting news on job activity. However, uncertainty is common for military personnel and their families as they abruptly move quite frequently.
Frequent relocation causes military personnel and their families to heavily rely on online resources to secure new housing, jobs, doctors, and loans upon receiving orders to a new state or even country. This is something that cybercriminals know about the military and therefore disproportionally target them.
Once the stop move order is lifted, many military personnel and their families will resume travel. You can bet cybercriminals have hostile scams waiting to prey on innocent victims who are frantically searching for employment, attempting to apply for loans or credit cards, or find a new home after being relocated.
According to Comparitech researchers, approximately 996,700 military personnel and their families in the United States were affected by cybercrime in the past 8 years, reporting a total of over $405 million in losses. Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing even more internet usage, cybercrime is more pervasive in the lives of military personnel than ever before.
When a stressful move becomes even more stressed, there is a greater chance for fraud to take place. Cybercriminals will actively target military personnel and their families with a plethora of scams such as housing scams, employment scams, and bank and loan-related scams.
Military families needing new housing after being relocated will find themselves searching for a new home online. Housing scams can occur when trying to refinance a mortgage or while searching for a new home. These scams can seem legitimate but advertise false housing information or mortgages with incorrect information, misleading practices, or coercive sales tactics.
Even though military personnel may not be searching for a job, after being relocated military family members will begin the search for new jobs. Employment scams pose as fake job opportunities. Many scams sometimes advertise as easy work-from-home opportunities to lure victims searching for a job that works with their lifestyle.
With military personnel and their families being stationed in a variety of locations and searching for homes, cybercriminals target them with refinancing opportunities and loans to help with their ever-changing residential payments. Bank and lender related scams offer refinancing, loans, and investments in order to steal funds and identities. Although convincing, these scams can lead to very costly losses.
If this wasn’t enough to worry about, cybercriminals also use various COVID-19 related scams knowing that the global health crisis has directed everyone’s attention to COVID-19. By creating scams related to COVID-19, cybercriminals take advantage of people eager to donate or possibly give out personal information to then steal funds and identities.
Similar to COVID-19, cybercrime can affect anyone, whether looking for a new home, job, loan, or even trying to help others during this pandemic. Cybercriminals are all too ready to take advantage of opportunities like this. But there is a cure for this virtual disease. Cybercrime Support Network (CSN) works hard to help victims of cybercrime get back on their feet after a crime has occurred.
If you’ve experienced any of these crimes, please visit Fightcybercrime.org for resources that give victims of cybercrime a voice and help them along the road to recovery. For more information on cybercrime and how you can stay safe or recover, please follow CSN’s accounts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube.