As Washingtonians honor former military personnel on Veterans Day, Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington urge consumers to remain vigilant against scammers targeting veterans.
According to the Consumer Sentinel Network, nearly 100,000 military members complained of being targeted by financial crimes in 2014, with identity theft and impostor scams topping the list. Con artists often use malevolent tactics to steal the money and identities of veterans and their families.
Better Business Bureau reminds service men and women to watch for these common military scams.
Phone Scams: Impostors pose as Veterans Administration employees and call veterans to request that they update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA. Fraudsters use scare tactics by threatening cancelation of benefits in order to collect birthdates, Social Security numbers and bank account information.
Rental Listings: Cyber thieves create bogus online rental listings and lure in potential victims by offering military discounts. Victims are asked to wire deposits and first month’s rent to “landlords” who happen to be out of the country.
Military Loans: Sketchy lenders promise “instant approvals” and no credit checks, but loans often carry extremely high interest rates and hidden fees.
Insurance Policies: Solicitors make false statements or inflate claims regarding the benefits of policies they offer, using high-pressured sales pitches to sell expensive—and often unnecessary—life insurance policies.
Donors looking to give to a military-affiliated charity this Veterans Day are urged to use Wise Giving Alliance in finding a trustworthy charity. Consumers are also advised to research businesses through bbb.org before giving out personal information, making payments or giving donations.
Since 2012, service men and women have been utilizing BBB’s Military Line, a program that provides free resources to all branches of the U.S. military, including financial literacy information, scam alerts and access to BBB services such as complaint handling and dispute resolution.