Even though veterans have protected our country with their service, scammers have them in their sights. Veterans are twice as likely as nonveterans to lose money to fraud.
Nearly 80 percent of veterans surveyed reported being targeted by scams related to their service.
Here are 10 scams targeting veterans:
1. Charging for Records – Scammers attempt to charge for access to a veteran’s military records. Never pay for your records; all information is free through the Veterans Administration (VA).
2. Veterans Administration Phishing – Scammers call veterans claiming they work for the VA and ask for personal information to update their records. If you get an unsolicited call from the VA, hang up.
3. Employment Scams – Scammers post bogus job offers online to recruit veterans. The scammer may use or sell your personal information provided in the job application. It’s likely a scam if you have to pay to get the job, you need to supply credit card or banking information, or the ad is for “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs.
4. Special Deals – Scammers offer special discounts for veterans on a range of products. Often, the products aren’t discounted at all, or they don’t actually exist. Check out offers carefully. Never wire money to someone you don’t know.
5. Rental Scam – A scammer posts a rental property on a classified ad website offering discounts for active duty military and veterans. You just need to wire transfer a security deposit to the landlord. Only there is no rental property, and you just lost your security deposit.
6. Benefits Buyout Scam – Scammers offer an upfront payment of cash in exchange for a veteran’s future disability or pension payments. These buyouts are typically a fraction of the value of the benefit.
7. Investment/Pension Scam – Unscrupulous investment advisers claim the veteran may be able to claim additional government benefits by overhauling their investment holdings. Get credible information on benefits by contacting your state veterans’ affairs agency.
8. Veterans Choice Program – Scammers have set up a phone number nearly identical to the number veterans dial to find out if they are eligible to use approved health care providers outside of the VA system. Vets call the fake number, and a message prompts them to leave their credit card information in return for a rebate. They debit your account, and the vet gets nothing in return. Make sure to dial the correct number for the VCP: 1-866-606-8198.
9. GI Bill Marketing Scam – Veterans may be targets of deceptive marketing tactics that provide false information and encourage them to attend expensive for-profit schools. The VA offers a comparison tool to help you locate a school and determine your benefits. Visit www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill.
10. Fake Charity Scam – A scammer claims to represent a charity helping veterans and their families. Only the scammers pocket the money and divert donations away from legitimate charities that serve veterans. Check out a charity at www.charitynavigator.org or www.give.org before supporting one.