SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – The Illinois National Guard is warning soldiers about a scam targeting their backpay, with callers claiming to be high ranking officers.

Guard officials said a soldier answered a call on July 25 from someone claiming to be a First Sergeant. The caller instructed the soldier to log into the National Guard pay system, give information about his paychecks and pay the caller digitally almost $300 to an account named Aryk Smith to receive $1,200 in backpay. 

The soldier contacted their unit leader who told the soldier to cancel the payment and file a police report.

Lt. Colonel Brad Leighton, Public Affairs Director, said they want other service members to be aware that this is a scam, despite them having very specific military knowledge.

“The fact is the scammer knew some things, Leighton said. “Knew the military pay system, knew to pose as a First Sergeant, although the name he used was fictitious.”

Leighton said it is sad that scammers are trying to take advantage of our service members, and that at no point should any service member get a call like that. The National Guard wants any soldier who receives a call like that to contact their chain of command.

If a soldier is contacted about a debt they owe, they are advised not to write a check to the Department of the Treasury or have it taken from their military pay. They should not send money to an individual regarding any military pay issue.