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SPRINGFIELD - The Illinois Army National Guard has had its identity impersonated in an effort to steal the identities of others.

Scammers have placed fraudulent ads on Craigslist Web sites, saying they are soldiers in the 139th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment who are selling vehicles, according to the National Guard.

Genuine members of the National Guard's Public Affairs unit have been working with the FBI to have these ads removed, while warning people not to give out personal information.

The National Guard is recommending that anyone buying or selling something through a Web site take these precautions: Do not transmit sensitive information by telephone, fax, radio or e-mail unless you know the receiver; do not discuss sensitive information in public; avoid posting or displaying sensitive information; and do not leave laptop computers unattended in public places.

Craigslist, which has localized sites throughout the nation, also has a list of recommendations on how to avoid scams: Deal locally with people you can meet in person; never wire funds via any wire service; do not trust cashier's checks or money orders, because they can be faked; never give out financial information such as bank account or Social Security numbers; avoid deals involving shipping and escrow services.

Craigslist invites its site users to report suspected scams at abuse@craigslist.

org.

Scams or frauds should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission, 1-877-382-4357.

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