Better Business Bureau warns of scams targeting troops, veterans
By DAVE DEWITTE | The Gazette, Cedar Rapids, Iowa | Published: May 22, 2012
The Better Business Bureau this week released a list of active scams targeting military veterans and their supporters.
Scams include those that target service personnel and their families, but also scams that appear to be charities helping military members.
“The unique lifestyle of our service members make them prime targets for scammers,” Better Business Bureau Military Line Director Brenda Linnington said in prepared remarks.
Recent and active military scams include:
- Posing as the Department of Veterans Affairs for identity theft purposes by telling veterans they need to update their credit card, bank or financial records with the Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Charging service members for military records or other documents they could get for free or considerably lower cost.
- Offering “instant approval” military loans with terms like “no credit check” and “all ranks approved” that can have high interest rates and hidden fees.
- Selling products such as security systems to spouses of deployed military personnel by saying the service member ordered it to protect his or her family.
- Selling stolen vehicles at low prices by claiming to be soldiers to need to sell fast because they’ve been deployed.
- Convincing veterans to transfer their assets into fraudulent irrevocable investment trust schemes.
- Posing as a lonely service member in a remote part of Iraq or Afghanistan on online dating services, then asking for money to be wired to a third party for a fictitious “emergency.”
The Better Business Bureau advised consumers to be wary of such tactics and any other solicitations that require them to transfer money or purchase something. They can check to see if the charity or firm is reputable free by using the Better Business Bureau website.