Military Families Blog Archives
October 2007

Don't Be Haunted by
Letting This Get Away!

If you're like most military families, and need a way to provide a little extra "spending money," take a look at this page. It will give you some ideas for an excellent way to generate a little extra cash without leaving home, or having to pay for child care.

We know some of you already operate your own web sites, and many more would like to, but are afraid the technical aspects of building a web site are just too complicated. We have GREAT news for you!

The company that helped us build this site has a fabulous $100 special in effect right now.

If you've already decided you're ready to build your own web site, there's no better time than RIGHT NOW to get started. Until the witching hour of midnight on Halloween, you can purchase one site, and get a second one for only $100! THAT's a bargain worthy of mention, especially on a web site devoted to wise use of your money.

What would you do with TWO web sites?

Well, you could:

  • Build two yourself. Once you get started with the first one, trust me, you'll start thinking of other topics you could build a site about. We've already got ideas for 3 or 4 more!

    And you have 8 months before you have to activate the second site, which is just enough time to get the first one off to a good start.

  • Make the second one a great Christmas present. Let that teenager who always has his (or her) hand out start learning how to generate his own "spending money."
  • Split the special with a friend. That will save each of you $100! Or, if you're not that fond of the friend, let him (or her) pay for the first site, and YOU keep the $100 one! (Good luck explaining that, by the way!)

If you already know you're ready to build your own web site, click on the graphic above for the special. If you want to learn more about how this company can help you Build a Website that Works, click here

Have a great weekend, and a Happy Halloween. And don't be haunted by letting this special get away from you!

Click for more info

Leadership and Courage
for More Than Forty Years

October 26, 2007 -- Forty years ago today, Arizona Senator and Presidential hopeful John McCain was shot down on a bombing mission over Hanoi. McCain had just released his bombs over the power plant when his A-4 was hit by a surface-to-air missile, ripping off one of the wings. As the jet spiraled out of control, McCain was forced to eject over downtown Hanoi. He broke both arms and one leg when the ejection seat fired, leaving him completely defenseless. He was lucky enough to land in a lake, and after sinking all the way to the bottom, was somehow able to inflate his life vest by pulling on the fitting with his teeth. He was immediately surrounded by Vietnamese, who inflicted bayonet wounds in addition to his other injuries before transporting him to Hao Lo Prison, the infamous "Hanoi Hilton."

After an unsuccessful attempt to reset his right arm, without benefit of anesthesia, McCain was fitted with a plaster cast from the waist up, holding his arm up at an awkward angle. Certain that McCain would not survive his injuries, prison officials placed him in the care of USAF Col. George (Bud) Day, a move which would allow them to say he died in American hands.

But McCain was determined not to die, and Bud Day was determined not to let him. Day nursed him back to health, at least as close as they could come, and as soon as McCain was able to walk on crutches, Day was removed from his cell. McCain would spend the next 31 months in solitary confinement. That gives a man plenty of time with his own thoughts, to learn who he really is. And John McCain was, and is, a man of faith, integrity, and courage.

When his captors learned that the 31-year-old McCain was the son of a high-ranking Navy Admiral, he became eligible for "special treatment." He was routinely tortured, brutally. The only time he was allowed out of his solitary cell was to attend a Christmas Eve service. After being ordered to participate, and despite the knowledge that it would result in a severe beating, McCain spoiled the service because he realized it would be used as propaganda, as "proof" of their humane treatment.

As a result of his father's rank, McCain was offered early release. Again, determined not to be a propaganda tool for the Communists, he refused to leave before the men who had been captured earlier than he was.

When he was shot down, McCain's mother and wife both believed he had died, because no one had seen a parachute. Roberta McCain, known as "Johnny's mother," says learning that her son was a prisoner of war was "the best news she'd ever received." (Video)

A stirring tribute by fellow POWs, including Medal of Honor recipient Bud Day.

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President Bush Presents Medal of Honor
to Parents of Lt. Michael P. Murphy, USN

In an emotional ceremony in the East Room of the White House, President George W. Bush presented Maureen and Dan Murphy with the Medal of Honor awarded to their son, Navy Lt. Michael P. Murphy.

Lt. Murphy was killed in Afghanistan in June 2005, when his four-man SEAL team, on a reconnaissance mission, was surrounded by Taliban fighters. After a two-hour firefight, Murphy and two others were dead, along with an estimated 35 enemy fighters.

The fourth SEAL, Hospital Corpsman 2nd Class Marcus Luttrell, made a heroic escape, evading enemy fighters and walking seven miles despite severe injuries. Local residents hid him from the Taliban, and delivered a note to nearby Marines with his location, leading to his dramatic rescue.

The Medal of Honor is the United States' highest military award. Murphy is the first U.S. service member to earn the MOH for combat action in Afghanistan in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). His award is the third MOH awarded since the GWOT began.

The President's Remarks

The Medal of Honor Citation

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Navy Lt. (SEAL) Michael Murphy
Awarded Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor recipient Navy SEAL Lt. Michael MurphyNavy SEAL (SEa, Air, Land) Lt. Michael P. Murphy, 29, was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in Afghanistan on June 28, 2005. Murphy is the first service member to be awarded the Medal of Honor for combat action in Afghanistan in the Global War on Terror, and the first Navy SEAL since WWII to receive the MOH. He is also the first Navy service member to receive the Medal of Honor for actions in the Global War on Terror and the third armed forces service member to receive the Medal of Honor since the beginning of Operations Enduring Freedom and Iraqi Freedom.

President Bush will present the Medal of Honor to Lt. Murphy's parents at a ceremony at the White House on Monday, Oct. 22, 2007.

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Benefit for America's Wounded

Stand Up for Heroes

A Benefit for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund

by Emily Burgess

Conan O’Brien to Host the Star-Studded Benefit for America's Wounded Warriors

Wednesday, November 7, 2007 at 8:00 pm at New York City’s Town Hall

The New York Comedy Festival (NYCF), in partnership with the Bob Woodruff Family Fund (BWFF), is presenting Stand Up for Heroes: A Benefit for the Bob Woodruff Family Fund.

This unique occasion is an evening of laughter, tributes and gratitude dedicated to our nation’s injured service members, with proceeds from the evening going to the BWFF.

ABC News Anchor Bob Woodruff
Bob Woodruff was named co-anchor of ABC's "World News Tonight" in December 2005. On January 29, 2006, while reporting on U.S. and Iraqi security forces, he was seriously injured by a roadside bomb that struck his vehicle near Taji, Iraq. Both Woodruff and his cameraman, Doug Vogt, sustained multiple life-threatening wounds. Bob spent five weeks in a medically-induced coma before going on to months of in- and out-patient rehabilitation.

The Woodruff family established the Fund in February 2007 to raise awareness and money to assist members of the military injured while serving our country.

Special emphasis is placed on the "hidden signature injuries" of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan – traumatic brain injury (TBI) and combat stress injuries including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"We are a very lucky family with Bob's recovery and we are well aware that not every family has the outcome we have had," said Bob and Lee Woodruff. "We were determined to use our journey to draw attention to the number of traumatic brain injuries from this war and to ensure that . . ."

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Where Do We Find Such Men?

It's an age-old question . . . used when describing the uncommon valor found in the American service men and women who defend our freedom on a daily basis, and especially those in combat situations.

It's the question that popped into my mind, along with tears in my eyes, five minutes into . . .

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Our Very First Award!

October 3, 2007 -- Imagine our delight to receive the following note in our e-mail this morning:

"Chief Boatswains Mate Dave Campbell, USN (Ret.), of '' is proud to present the Navy Bos'n Pipe Award to

The Pipe Award is presented to worthy web sites which show Excellence on a Naval Theme or Military Theme. Your web site has demonstrated Excellence in every way as it honors those who have served our Nation in the past, present and future.

The Navy Boatswain’s Mate keeps all hands posted on the Daily Routine of the Ship by the familiar 'Calls'.

We are proud to announce your selection, and to recognize your tireless efforts and hard work with this award. It will announce to all hands the distinction your web site has earned. You are hereby authorized to proudly display this award on your site."

Navy Bosn Award for Excellence

Wow! Although we've only been online for seven short months, we already have readers from around the world, and we're honored that our hard work has been noticed and recognized by Thanks, Chief! We appreciate your endorsement.

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Gold Star Mother's Day

Sunday, September 30, has been proclaimed Gold Star Mother's Day by President Bush, to honor those American mothers who have given their country their most cherished gift, their children.

Sunday morning, the Gold Star Mothers will gather in Washington, DC, to lay a memorial wreath, traditionally a star-shaped floral tribute made of yellow roses, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at 8 a.m. They will then proceed to Arlington National Cemetery for a memorial service, and will place a similar wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

If you're in the DC area, why not make it a point to join them, to pay your tribute to these proud mothers and their sons and daughters who gave their all to this country so that we might enjoy the freedom we have today.

During World War I, families of US service members began a tradition of hanging a banner in a front window of their home to indicate they had

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Visitors from Around the Globe

We're delighted to be sharing our tips and techniques for reducing debt and creating wealth with readers around the world.

Although the site is written specifically for our U.S. military service members, the information is applicable to and useful for just about anyone.

Currently, we have visitors from at least 45 countries around the world. To check the list to make sure you're represented, click on the "PermaLink" below. If you don't see a listing that represents you, please let us know via our contact page, so we can add you to the list.

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Have You Discovered SpouseBUZZ?

SpouseBUZZSeptember 19, 2007 -- Today, SpouseBUZZ celebrates its first birthday. We'd like to congratulate the authors on the virtual support they've provided to the worldwide community of military spouses. They've created a real sense of community, where milspouses can find like-minded spirits who truly understand what you're going through, because they've either been there, or are there now.

They understand how frustrated you get with the constant upheaval of military life, and how totally clueless your civilian friends and neighbors really are about the life your family lives.

Whatever your current situation, there's likely to be someone there who's in a similar situation and can offer you support and helpful suggestions. You're not alone in your thoughts and feelings, and at SpouseBUZZ, you'll find support from others who truly understand.

They even have a live radio show, and host virtual Pajama Parties!

So, if you haven't discovered SpouseBUZZ yet, click on over and wish them all a Happy Birthday!

Click for more info


Homes For Heroes

Homes for Heroes

Fourteen new Homes for Heroes will be built next year in San Juan Capistrano by the Orange County chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Of 27 total homes to be built in San Juan Capistrano, 14 are specially earmarked for combat-disabled veterans and their families, or surviving families of deceased veterans.

Requirements for qualification include legal residence in the US, and steady income between 30% and 80% of the median income in Orange County. The entire community will consist of 13 sets of paired homes and one single-family home.

Eleven of the homes can be designed to fully comply with ADA standards.

This is wonderful news for Marine families at Camp Pendleton, just south of Orange County.

For more information about eligibility, or to apply, contact the Director of Family Services.

Donate to this project.

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We Must Never Forget

September 11, 2007 - Today marks the sixth anniversary of the most horrific attack in history against the United States of America.

It was a vicious attack, carried out by a ruthless enemy, designed to kill thousands of innocent civilians -- men, women and children.

Let us each pause today and remember how we felt that day, watching on television, dumbstruck as the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center billowed smoke and flame, and then collapsed into a smoldering pile of death and destruction.

Remember the confusion, the incomprehension, that horrible searing feeling in the pit of your stomach as you watched people jump to their deaths to escape the blazing inferno.

Remember the brave police officers and firefighters who rushed into the building to help those trapped inside, many of whom died as heroes that sad day.

Remember the gaping hole in the side of the Pentagon, this nation's military fortress, and the hundreds of people who died there. Remember the giant American flag draped over the side of the building as the recovery process began.

Remember the devastating sight of the aircraft wreckage and debris strewn across the field in Pennsylvania, and the brave souls onboard who were determined that their aircraft would not become another weapon in the hands of terrorists. Be grateful for the number of lives they surely saved, even as they sacrificed their own.

Take a minute to say a prayer today, that God will provide some comfort to the family members of those who died on 9-11-2001.

Pray that God will bless and protect those brave Americans around the globe wearing the uniforms of our Armed Forces today, and keep them safe from harm. Pray that they will be returned safely to their families, who also serve as unsung heroes.

Pray for guidance and wisdom for our leaders as they chart the course forward in this war against an insidious enemy. Pray that God will continue to bless these United States of America, and that its citizens will have the collective wisdom to choose a new leader who will make the decisions that are in the best interests of all the American people, regardless of party affiliation.

And whatever else you do today, resolve that you will not forget, that you will not let your neighbor forget, that in order to keep something like that from happening here again, we must remember how we felt that day, and we must have the resolve to take the fight to the enemy and continue the fight until the mission is accomplished.

"We will not waiver; We will not tire;

We will not falter and We will not fail."

-- President George W. Bush

USS New York, LPD-21, is built with 24 tons of scrap steel from the World Trade Center. The ship's motto: NEVER FORGET!

We Are The Nation is an appropriate reminder on this day.

God Bless America!

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These Businesses Offer Military Discounts

In a recent post on SpouseBuzz, airforcewife was lamenting the fact that her local Home Depot store no longer honors a military discount (it's up to each individual store). After reading her post, we were inspired to begin this page, to list places where you can still find discounts offered to military members and military families.

As those who posted comments to airforcewife's post indicated, it's not the amount of the discount that matters, but rather just the fact that there IS a discount offered, an acknowledgment of the quiet sacrifices our military members and their families make on a daily basis.

Everyone likes to be appreciated, and our military spouses are no exception. They quietly go about their daily lives, and unless you're another military spouse, you're unlikely to ever hear . . . more

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Ten Tips to Help You Avoid Foreclosure

In many parts of the country, foreclosures are at an all-time high, following surges in the housing market and an epidemic of sub-prime adjustable loans allowing families who previously could not qualify for mortgages to do so. The result is that many families in recent years have bought homes that really were out of their reach, made possible only because the low interest rate kept the payments within the realm of the do-able. Unfortunately, as the adjustable-rate mortgages begin to adjust upwards, the families can no longer afford the payments, and they begin sliding down the slippery slope towards foreclosure.

If you are unable to make your mortgage payment: click here.

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Perspective on War Casualties

From our e-mail:

These are some rather eye-opening facts:

Since the start of the war on terror in Iraq and Afghanistan, the sacrifice hasbeen enormous. In the time period from the invasion of Iraq in March 2003through now, we have lost fewer than 3000 military personnel to enemy action.

As tragic as the loss of any member of the US Armed Forces is, consider thefollowing statistics, compiled from military data for Congress.

Annual fatalities of military members while actively serving on the job in the armed forces from 1980 through 2004:

1980 .......... 2,392
1981 .......... 2,380
1982 .......... 2,318
1983 .......... 2,465
1984 .......... 1,999
1985 ......... 2,252
1986 .......... 1,984
1987 .......... 1,983
1988 .......... 1,819
1989 .......... 1,636
1990 ......... 1,508
1991 .......... 1,787
1992 .......... 1,293
1993 .......... 1,213
1994 .......... 1,075
1995 .......... 1,040
1996 .......... 974
1997 .......... 817
1998 ......... 826
1999 .......... 795
2000 .......... 774
2001 .......... 890
2002 .......... 1,007
2003 .......... 1,410 ----- 534*
2004 .......... 1,887 ----- 900*
2005 ......... ----- 919*
2006 ......... ----- 920*

* Figures are Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom fatalities only.

Does this really mean that the loss from the two current conflicts in the Middle East are LESS than the loss of military personnel during Bill Clinton's presidency? Were we at war then?

Now, are you confused when you look at these figures? I was.

Especially when I saw that in 1980, during the reign of President (Nobel Peace Prize winner) Jimmy Carter, there were 2,392 US military fatalities.

What this clearly indicates is that our media & politicians, like most folks, pick and choose their statistics, and they tend to present only those that support their agenda-driven reporting.

Another fact our media and politicians like to slant is that these brave men and women losing their lives are minorities.

Wrong AGAIN - The latest census shows the following make-up of the American population:

European descent (white) ..... 69.12%
Hispanic .... 12.5%
Black ..... 12.3%
Asian .... 3.7%
Native American ..... 1.0%
Other ..... 2.6%

Now, the fatalities over the past three years in Iraqi Freedom are:

European descent (white) ..... 74.31%
Hispanic ..... 10.74%
Black ..... 9.67%
Asian ..... 1.81%
Native American ..... 1.09%
Other ..... 2.33%

These statistics are published by DOD and may be viewed at:

Now ask yourself this question:

"Why doesn't the Media give us these statistics instead of 'interpreting' and distorting them for us?"


"[W]e made a great mistake in the beginning of our struggle, and I fear, in spite of all we can do, it will prove to be a fatal mistake.

"We appointed all our worst generals to command our armies, and all our best generals to edit the newspapers."

--- Robert E. Lee, 1863

Staff Sergeant Convicted of Skimming
from Proceeds of Army Emergency Relief

We recently noticed an article in Stars & Stripes which makes us very sad. We're disappointed in the greed of this NCO who took advantage of three soldiers in his chain of command, even though he admitted he knew better.

We're bringing it to your attention as a reminder that even though your seniors in your chain of command are supposed to be there to help and support you, occasionally one crosses a line he knows he shouldn't. So if something doesn't seem quite right to you about their actions, we recommend going outside your chain of command to discuss the situation with a Chaplain or with a Legal Assistance Attorney or Staff Judge Advocate.

That way, if he's not a "Lone Wolf," and other members of the command are in on his scheme, you'll still be protected against retaliation, and the Chaplain or JAG will know where to go to address the problem appropriately.

One year before he reached retirement eligibility, this 18-year Army vet threw away his right to lifelong retired pay for a mere $6,000. He was sentenced to one year of confinement, a reduction in paygrade to E-1, and a Bad Conduct Discharge, which means he also will lose many of his veterans' benefits.

When his soldiers came to him with financial problems, he recommended that they seek assistance from Army Emergency Relief, a nonprofit organization that provides funds to assist service members with certain expenses. Then when they received the money, he asked for a cut for himself, as much as half the amount the soldier received.

"CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — An Army staff sergeant was sentenced to one year of confinement and a bad-conduct discharge Thursday after admitting he helped scam an Army relief program and soldiers under his command out of $6,000.

Staff Sgt. Shane R. Martin, 40, admitted in a general court-martial that since fall of 2005 he had helped three soldiers get money from Army Emergency Relief, an organization dedicated to helping soldiers in need. Then, he asked each of the three soldiers for a cut, he said under oath."

The comments of the soldiers involved will help you to recognize when you might be involved in a situation in which you should seek assistance outside your own chain of command.

"It was weird because he was my NCO, and he’s used to giving me orders," Patterson testified during the sentencing portion of the trial. "I was just confused."

"I thought if I didn’t, it might change things at work," Chambers testified.

If you find yourself in a situation with similar feelings, you need to discuss the situation with a Chaplain or JAG Officer.

Article excerpts used with permission from the Stars and Stripes, copyright Stars and Stripes. For the entire article, click here.

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Veterans Now Permitted to Salute the Flag!

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) recently praised the passage by unanimous consent of his bill (S.1877) clarifying U.S. law to allow veterans and servicemen not in uniform to salute the flag. Current law (US Code Title 4, Chapter 1) states that veterans and servicemen not in uniform should place their hand over their heart without clarifying whether they can or should salute the flag.

"The salute is a form of honor and respect, representing pride in one’s military service," Senator Inhofe said. "Veterans and service members continue representing the military services even when not in uniform.

"Unfortunately, current U.S. law leaves confusion as to whether veterans and service members out of uniform can or should salute the flag. My legislation will clarify this regulation, allowing veterans and servicemen alike to salute the flag, whether they are in uniform or not.

"I look forward to seeing those who have served saluting proudly at baseball games, parades, and formal events. I believe this is an appropriate way to honor and recognize the 25 million veterans in the United States who have served in the military and remain as role models to other citizens. Those who are currently serving or have served in the military have earned this right, and their recognition will be an inspiration to others."

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Important Protection Against Identity Theft
for Deployed Service Members

Great News! Amendments to the Fair Credit Reporting Act have made it a little easier for deployed service members to protect themselves against possible identity theft while they are out of the country.

If you are on active duty and away from your usual duty station for an extended period, you can add an "active duty alert" to your credit reports with the major credit reporting agencies. This should help minimize the risk of identity theft while you are deployed, because when a business sees the alert on your credit report, it must verify your identity before issuing credit.

To learn how to place an “active duty” alert, or to have one removed, and for the toll-free fraud number of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies, click here.

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Free Entrepreneurship Boot Camp
for Disabled Veterans

Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University has announced a new Entrepreneurship Bootcamp for Veterans with Disabilities (EBV). The program is designed to offer cutting edge, experiential training in entrepreneurship to veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan with disabilities. The goal of the EBV is to open the door to entrepreneurial opportunity for disabled veterans, by helping them develop competencies in the many steps and activities associated with creating and sustaining an entrepreneurial venture (and there are many - trust us), and also helping them to understand and coordinate with other programs and services for veterans and others with disabilities. For more information about the program, click on the link below.

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Free Legal Help for Veterans
Filing VA Disability Claims

Veterans needing help to file VA claims for disability can get free personalized legal help and review of their claims from attorneys at the law firm of Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, under their program "When Duty Calls." Womble Carlyle (WCSR) developed the program in conjunction with the Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association.

A law enacted shortly after the Civil War (and still in effect) limits the amount a veteran can pay an attorney for assistance in filing a VA disability claim to $10 and thus effectively prevents them from hiring an attorney. Yet the completeness and accuracy of the information contained in a veteran’s initial disability claim are crucial to its success.

The "When Duty Calls" campaign has three goals:

* To provide pro bono assistance to as many veterans as possible through an ongoing series of clinics;

* To work with veterans and the VA to find ways to streamline and expedite the service connected disability application process; and

* To motivate attorneys to provide pro bono assistance to veterans.

The VA has provided strong support for this project. Womble Carlyle attorney Tim McClain, former General Counsel for the VA and now a member of WCSR's Washington, DC, office, led a recent training session.

Womble Carlyle hopes to replicate the program in all the states where it has offices. WCSR currently has offices in: Atlanta, GA; Greenville, SC; Charlotte, Greensboro, Raleigh, Research Triangle Park, and Winston-Salem, NC; Washington, DC; Tysons Corner, VA; Baltimore, MD; and, Wilmington, DE.

In the "small world" category, Tim McClain is a retired Navy Judge Advocate (JAG), and served as a well-respected military judge before whom we argued many Courts-Martial. We can assure you, if he is associated with the program, it is top notch.

If you live in a state in which WCSR has offices, and you need assistance in filing a claim for VA disability, go to their website to find the phone number of the office nearest you.

And if you live in a state without a WCSR office, call your local bar association and ask if there's a firm in your area with a similar pro bono program. If not, your call just might encourage one.

Click for more info

Do Not Open Bogus E-Mail
Purporting to be from FTC

Attachment Unleashes Malicious Spyware

Consumers, including corporate and banking executives, appear to be targets of a bogus e-mail supposedly sent by the Federal Trade Commission. In actuality, the e-mail was sent by third parties hoping to install spyware on computers.

The bogus e-mail poses as an acknowledgment of a complaint filed by the recipient, and includes an attachment. Consumers who open the attachment to this e-mail unleash malicious spyware onto their computer.

The FTC warns consumers who get this e-mail that appears to be from the agency:

  • Don’t open the attachment.
  • Delete the e-mail.
  • Empty the deleted items folder.

The hoax e-mail is personalized, and contains the name of the recipient and their business. The bogus message explains how the complaint will be used, who will have access to it and states, “Attached you will find a copy of your complaint. Please print a hard copy of the complaint for your records in the upcoming investigation.” Opening the attachment downloads the malicious spyware.

Consumers can learn more about protecting themselves from malicious spyware and bogus e-mails at, a Web site created by the FTC in partnership with other federal agencies and the technology industry to help consumers stay safe online. The site also features modules on spyware and phishing.

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Sponsor a Secure Website to Help a Military Family Stay in Touch

What an awesome idea! If you've been looking for a way to show your support for America's military families, here's a project worth supporting.

Your sponsorship of just $99 will provide a secure website to a military family for an entire year, giving them the ability to share (privately) those precious moments that would otherwise be missed, such as first steps, birthday parties, piano recitals, soccer goals, etc. The sites use multiple layers of security, so the families can safely post photos of children and talk about family activities without fear of the information falling into the wrong hands. This is a wonderful way of helping the families stay connected. is a nationwide service that helps America's troops stay connected with their families by providing them with free, secure interactive family websites. Launched in 2006, is a joint effort by two California patriots -- Terry Gniffke, a former Marine and Vietnam veteran, and Michael Sawtell, CEO of DigitalPost Interactive, a provider of advanced family website technology -- to help military families maintain strong family bonds and to inspire hope during difficult times.

For further information or to sponsor a website for a military hero, please visit Websites for Heroes.

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Beware of Scam Targeting Military Families

The American Red Cross has learned about a new scam targeting military families, in which a telephone caller gives false information to military families in order to obtain social security numbers.

The caller (young-sounding, American) calls a military spouse and identifies herself as a representative from the Red Cross. The caller states that the spouse's husband (not identified by name) was hurt while on duty in Iraq and was med-evac'd to a hospital in Germany. The caller stated they couldn't start treatment until paperwork was accomplished, and in order to start the paperwork they need the spouse to verify her husband's social security number and date of birth. In this case, thankfully, the spouse was quick to catch on and she did not provide any information to the caller.

American Red Cross representatives typically do not contact military members/dependents directly, and almost always go through a commander or first sergeant channels. And as you know, military hospitals do not withhold treatment to verify SSN's. Military family members are urged not to give out any personal information over the phone if contacted by unknown/unverified individuals, to include even confirmation that your spouse is deployed. Use common sense, keep your personal information personal, and don't give away any information unless absolutely necessary.

This is another good reminder to be on the alert and to NOT give out any personal information to unknown callers! These people have sunk to new lows. They know that you would do anything you can to help your deployed spouse, especially if you believe he (or she) is injured and treatment is being withheld pending completion of "paperwork."

Should you receive one of these calls, keep your wits about you, but tell them you're flustered by this news and can't remember the SSN -- you'll have to look it up and call them back. ASK for their number to call them back. Or ask them to call you back in 10 minutes. Then get a tape recorder ready to record the call.

If you DO get one of these calls, and a phone number shows up on your caller ID, write it down, along with the date and time of the call and as many details as you can remember about exactly what they said. Then take the information to your base legal office and ask for their help in getting the information to the right sources to catch these low-lifes trying to take advantage of vulnerable military families. We believe there's a special corner of hell reserved for these folks!

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