Veterans Day is every Nov. 11, marking the anniversary of the armistice that ended World War I. In America, the federal holiday honors those who have served our country.
But, Better Business Bureau is warning, it also serves as an opportunity for scammers to target those who previously served our nation, their families and those who are currently serving.
Scams targeting veterans can take many forms. The following are five of the most common fraudulent offers and scams targeting our veterans:
- Firms that charge veterans for products and services they can receive for free or at lower cost elsewhere, such as military records and forms.
- Scammers who contact veterans claiming they need to update their credit card information or other records with the Veterans Administration. The scammers then use the information to commit identity theft.
- Flashy military loan offers promising “instant approval,” “no credit check” and “all ranks approved.” These loans often come with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees.
- Fraudulent housing ads offering military discounts. Typically these ads use stolen photos of legitimate rental properties to bait renters out of security deposits.
- “Veterans for Hire.” Scammers pose as representatives from government contracting firms, and when they are contacted by a veteran, they claim to need a copy of the veteran’s passport before they can offer him or her the job. In the end, there is no job offer and the con artist now has the veteran’s personal information.
To protect yourself from these scams, BBB offers these tips for veterans:
- Protect Finances. Never wire money to strangers.
- Check Companies and Charities. Go to www.bbb.org to see a company’s BBB Business Review or www.give.org for a BBB report on a charity.
- Defend Computers. Avoid visiting unfamiliar sites or opening emails from unknown senders. Install a firewall and keep anti-virus software updated.
- Safeguard your identity. Actively deployed military personnel can place an “active duty alert” on their credit reports to help minimize the risk of identity theft.
- Report Scams. File a complaint with your Better Business Bureau, the Federal Trade Commission, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center.