Marines want to stop online scammers who impersonate generals
By Hope Hodge Seck
A man looks at a computer monitor showing the and old (L) and new (R) Twitter logos, June 6, 2012 in Washington DC. Twitter unveiled the new "Twitterbird" on June 6, 2012 as the new trademark symbol for the fast-growing company. AFP PHOTO / Douglas E. CURRAN (Photo credit should read DOUGLAS E. CURRAN/AFP/Getty Images)
The Marine Corps is searching for a software program that will help officials find and shut down scam social media profiles in which scammers impersonateing top generals.
In a solicitation posted earlier this month, officials with the Marine Corps' Cybersecurity Division sought asked for bids for a program that will locate and close with ould seek out these so-called evil twin accounts, which can be used to extort money or information from service members, or trick them into providing access to Marine Corps networks.
The Marines' commandant, Gen. Joseph Dunford, is no stranger to these scam accounts. He has been impersonated many times, primarily on the social network Twitter and on romance and dating sites. Gen. James Mattis (ret.), the former head of U.S. Central Command, has also been impersonated by online scam artists.
The characters behind these fake accounts attempt use them to con money from the unsuspecting. Recently retired Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno was another common target of these evil twin accounts, and warned troops not to be fooled by online impostors pretending to be him.
The software solution the Marine Corps seeks is ambitious. According to solicitation documents, the program must discover, remove and report fraudulent social media accounts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Instagram and YouTube, among other sites. It should also be smart enough to discover related trending topics on social media trending topics that can ould point to "threat agents" or impersonators.
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Officials with the division declined to elaborate further on the Marines' fight against the misleading accounts, saying it was inappropriate to comment on open solicitations.
According to documents, Marine officials are asking for bids on the software by Sept. 17.