Columbus OH (May 20, 2019) – As Memorial Day approaches, BBB wants military personnel and their families to be informed about scams targeting those affiliated with the military.
Approximately 1.3 million Americans are active duty service members, another 800,000 are in the reserves, and nearly 20 million are military veterans. While these individuals all have one obvious thing in common, there is one other similarity between them – they, and their loved ones, are at a higher risk of being the targets of a scam.
Certain aspects of a service member’s job may make them more vulnerable to scams because they have a guaranteed and steady income; they are frequently deployed and move around often, which makes staying on top of red flags in bills and credit reports more difficult; and service members can often be young and may be financially inexperience.:
Common military related scams include:
.Military Loans: Too good to be true loans offered to members of the military or veterans such as “no credit checks” or “all ranks approved” with an upfront fee.
.Charity Scams: There are fake charities that use similar names of well-known veterans’ charities to try to fool donors. Remember, scammers can easily create websites and accounts similar to credible charities.
.Identity Theft which include:
*Someone posing as the Veterans Administration (VA) under the guise of asking veterans to update credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA in order to steal your personal information.
*Someone posing as government contractors recruiting veterans and then asking for a copy of the job applicant’s passport, which can lead to identity theft.
*Using social networks or dating services to get victims to wire money to help what they are led to believe is a deployed service member.
.Phishing Emails: Targeting military spouses with phishing emails.
BBB recommends the following tips for active military, their families and veterans:
.Be leery of too-good-to-be-true offers, whether it’s for a vehicle, a loan or housing. Don’t give out your personal or financial information over the phone or by email to someone you don’t know, in a conversation you did not initiate.
.For anyone considering giving to a charity solicitation, always make sure to do your homework first. Research the organization at give.org where BBB has more than 11,000 charity reports from the U.S. and Canada.
If you are an active duty service member, BBB recommends putting an “Active Duty alert” on your credit report to limit the risk of identity theft.
BBB’s Institute for Marketplace Trust runs the BBB Military Line program to help military families and veterans avoid scams and fraud. BBB Military Line is tailored to military consumers and their families and provides consumer education resources both online and through local outreach.
If you or someone that you know has been affected by a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker to warn others.
For more information, follow your BBB on Facebook, Twitter, and at bbb.org.