(TargetLiberty.org) – Our nation’s veterans have worked hard to defend our country. They put their lives on the line and sacrifice more than civilians could ever imagine. They deserve nothing but our respect and admiration. Unfortunately, not everyone feels this way and many veterans are targeted by scammers once they return home.
Why Does This Happen?
According to a poll done by the AARP in 2017, 78% of veterans have been targeted by scammers and 16% have lost money because of one. Why is it that they are targeted in such large numbers?
Learn how AARP is helping educate our veterans to spot and fight scams specially targeted to them. #Fraud pic.twitter.com/MNAtpTTIcD
— AARP California (@AARPCA) November 21, 2018
One of the top reasons is that scammers know most veterans receive government benefits of some kind. The GI bill, which is used to help vets attend college, is a perfect example of this. Many scams involve qualifying for the GI bill or “fees” for attending college.
Another reason veterans are targeted is because of their patriotism and support of fellow veterans and service members.
A veteran is almost always willing to help out a wounded soldier, which leads us to the third reason why they are targeted so often. One who is wounded or is suffering from PTSD or depression is much more likely to fall victim to a scam that focuses on their disability.
Scammers will do anything to get money or sensitive information from a vet.
What to Watch out For
One of the most common scams doesn’t ask for money at all. Instead, they just want to get personal information, typically to open up credit cards and get loans.
Scammers do this by calling veterans and saying they are from the Veterans Administration. They’ll claim that they’re updating their records and proceed to ask a bunch of personal questions. If this happens to you, hang up and call the VA to check for yourself.
Another common scam is carried out by people who claim to be veterans advocates. They’ll go to nursing homes, community centers and sometimes hospitals. If it’s a place where veterans are likely to be, they might show up. They try to convince veterans that they’re able to receive additional benefits and will then tell the vet that they should place any money they currently have into a trust to help improve their chances of getting more money.
By doing so, the so-called advocate actually receives bonuses or a kickback from the company they work for — if they actually work for one — or they just pocket the money. In order to avoid being taken advantage of like this, always research any investment advisor you hire and check with your local regulatory office.
Finally, a big scam to watch out for is fundraising. While they occur throughout the year, fundraisers are especially common around the holidays and important military anniversaries. People will claim they are raising money for a variety of causes; wounded soldiers, military families, pretty much anything that a veteran might be affected by.
While some of these fundraisers might be legit, others only give a tiny percentage of what’s raised to the intended cause, pocketing the rest. Always make sure that you research the person or company behind a fundraising effort before donating your hard-earned money.
Our country’s veterans deserve nothing but respect. Make sure to share these hints and tips so that the scammers know we’re onto them and won’t let them take advantage of our brave heroes anymore.
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