ILLINOIS (WEHT) – The Illinois National Guard is advising their soldiers and airmen as well as their families to be aware of telephone and online scams after one of the Guard’s soldiers was targeted by a telephone scam.

A news release says a soldier in the Illinois Army National Guard reported getting a phone call July 25 from someone impersonating a first sergeant regarding backpay for the soldier’s dependents during training. The Department of Military Affairs says the person instructed the soldier to log into the Military Pay and Leave System and give him details about his last three active-duty pay checks then his current account balance. The individual then instructed the soldier to send him $278.24 via a digital payment app, to an account under the name of Aryk Smith to receive upwards of $1,200 in backpay.

The press release says the person told the soldier he would review the payment and work on getting the backpay. The soldier, who became suspicious of the call and payment, reached out to unit leaders who told the soldier to cancel the payment and make a police report.

The Department of Military Affairs says soldiers should keep in mind that Military Pay will never reach out to them individually regarding backpay issues without the full-time unit support and the leadership knowing of the issue. If soldiers receive a call as described, they should report it immediately to their unit and chain of command. If the soldier is contacted about a debt they owe, they are able to have the debt taken from their military pay or make a check payable to the Department of Treasury. Soldiers should never pay any money to anyone regarding any military pay issue.

For more information, people should contact the Illinois National Guard Public Affairs Office at (217) 761-3569 or