Tips to Avoid Veteran Benefits Scams
Posted in Uncategorized on January 11, 2018
It is an unfortunate reality that military veterans are victimized more than the general public.
Learn more about how and why veterans are targeted and what you need to know to protect yourself and your loved ones from veteran benefits scams.
Reasons Veterans Are More Likely to Become Victims of Fraud
A survey from the AARP has concluded that military veterans are victimized twice as often as the rest of the public. The survey reports that 16% of U.S. veterans acknowledge losing money to fraudsters and 80% said they have encountered scams that specifically targeted the military.
Many con artists work to scam veterans by pretending to have served themselves, trusting that veterans will ask fewer questions about a fellow veteran. Veterans are also more willing to donate money to an organization they believe is helping serve other veterans and their families.
Doug Shadel, lead researcher for AARP’s Fraud Watch Network says, “What makes them more vulnerable is technology and patriotism.”
Ways to Avoid Veterans Benefits Scams
Military veterans should be reminded to look out for telltale signs that the person on the other end is a con artist.
Remember to stay wary if:
- Someone is asking for a benefits buyout offer. For veterans with a substantial amount of debt or significant financial loss, it can be tempting to sell military benefits or a pension for quick cash. Con artists will promise to exchange a “future trickle of income for cold, hard, cash in your hands today.” These agreements are often charged at high-interest rates between 25-47%, leaving the borrower owing more than they borrowed up front. These types of agreements are also prohibited under the Federal Anti-Assignment Acts.
- There is a charity or fundraiser that benefits the company and not veterans. Some charities sound like they are doing really good work, benefitting veterans and their families. Some are, but it’s worth the extra effort to research the company before giving money. Understand where your money is going and the charity’s administration costs which could limit how much money is actually helping fellow veterans.
- There are promises of extra benefits. Con artists posing as investment advisors may entice veterans claiming they can have additional government benefits by overhauling investments. These may not be true and could even be costly. Learn how to qualify for veterans benefits by contacting your state veterans affairs agency.
- There is a phone call from someone claiming to be a government official. Don’t trust caller ID when it comes to protecting yourself from scams. Caller ID can be hacked to look real and then the callers ask for personal information, like credit card information or social security numbers.
Do you have any experience with veteran scams? What would you tell someone you love about protecting himself or herself? We'd like to hear your stories in the comments below.