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Scams Targeting Veterans

Unfortunately, elders are the targets of many scammers who see them as easy targets and know they often have money in the bank. For more information and tips on protecting your elder loved ones from scams, check out Top 10 Scams Against the Elderly and Tips for Fraud Prevention. There are some scams specifically targeted to or related to veterans, so today we bring you some top scams targeting veterans to watch for as well as tips about what to do to try and avoid being scammed. We encourage you to share these with your loved ones who are veterans (and share our gratitude for their service!).

scams targeting veterans

Top Scams Targeting Veterans

  1. Fake discounts for veterans. Obviously, some organizations offer genuine veterans’ discounts and specials, but others will offer false deals which may cause a veteran more money or serve to build trust so the vet leaves his/her guard down. Check carefully and comparison shop offers with and without special discounts.
  2. Phishing. This is one of the most common scams targeting veterans and many other groups. This is a way for someone to get personal information to steal your identity or perpetrate fraud against you, by making you believe it is a legitimate request for information. People may have experienced this when a scammer posed as a financial institution or government organization. In the case of phishing scams targeting veterans, the person (or email) may claim to be from the Veteran’s Administration needing to update records. Never give out personal information to someone who reaches out to you. You can always contact the organization directly to find out if they need something.
  3. Requiring payment for military records. This involves veterans being tricked into paying for access to documents that they can get for free. Once again, check directly with the VA if you need documents or have questions to find out about what’s available and charges. For our Florida veterans, we highly recommend the county Veterans Services Office where employees are available to answer your questions and assist you in navigating the Veterans Administration and benefits. Contact our team for help with this and other resources!
  4. Bad investment advice or frauds related to investment. Investment advisors may target veterans, saying that they specialize in helping Vets or even calling themselves “Veterans Advocates”. This can be legitimate, but others may offer inappropriate investment vehicles for you or even may flat out try to steal from the person. Similarly, others offer “free help” with applying for veteran’s benefits, usually targeting selling you investments that may not be in your best interests (and might disqualify you for other benefits such as Medicaid, even in the future).  If you have a trusted investment advisor, talk to them before making changes. Regardless, do your research into any investment assistance or advice you receive.

Scams Related to Veterans

  1. Charity Scams. False charities (or very poorly managed charities with high overhead going to salaries and perks for those involved) may solicity money from you. Those related to veterans may be especially busy around key times like Veteran’s Day, Memorial Day, etc. Check CharityNavigator.org.
  2. Fraudsters posing as servicemen/veterans. The Nigerian email scams in which someone tries to get money from the individual with false claims such as lottery winnings or a relative in need are fairly well known (but remain successful) but now scammers also pose as a lonely serviceman looking for love or a veteran in need of assistance. Never wire money to anyone you don’t know and ignore unverified emails/requests.

For more information and resources:

Financial Fraud Enforcement Task Force information for servicemen/Veterans
Consumer Protection Bureau

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