How Veterans Can Protect Against Financial Scams
By: Robert Mauterstock - February 15, 2019
Americans lost almost $1 billion to scam artists last year according to the FTC. And veterans lost almost twice as much as the general public. AARP research found that 16% of veterans lost money to scammers. Why did that happen?
Veterans will normally trust another person who contacts them and claims to be a veteran. In addition many veterans are suffering from PTSD, which makes them more vulnerable to the emotional manipulation used by scam artists.
What are the scam artists’ primary techniques when approaching veterans?
The VA loan scam. The caller offers to provide a VA loan at a much lower rate
Update your file scam. Someone claiming to be from a government agency reports that a veteran’s file needs to be updated to maintain benefits and requests detailed personal information.
Aid and attendance scam. Veterans are informed that they can qualify for an additional income benefit if they move their assets to an annuity or a living trust.
Special benefits scam. Scammers claim that the veteran can qualify for a special veteran’s benefit if they provide personal information and pay a fee.
Pension lump sum scam. Scammers offer veteran a lump sum if they sign over all future pension income.
What should veterans and their friends and family do when they are approached by one of these scam artists? The AARP and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) has set up a specific program to protect veterans. It is called Operation Protect Veterans. You should call 877-908-3360 or log on to AARP.org/fraudwatchnetwork to report the attempted scam.
There are other scams that veterans should be aware of that affect the general public. These are some of the most common.
- IRS tax scam. You are left a phone message from the IRS stating that you are under investigation and must contact a certain number immediately.
- Grandparent scam. You receive a call from someone claiming to be your grandson who will need to you to forward cash to get him out of jail
- Tech support scam. You receive a message or email stating that a virus has compromised your computer and you need to pay the sender to remove it.
- Medicare scam. Someone claiming to represent Medicare who wants to verify that the number you received is correct contacts you.
- Bank verification scam. You receive an email from your bank or financial institution on their letterhead indicating you must connect to a certain Intern link to confirm your personal information with them.
Do not ever provide personal information in response to any email request from your bank, financial institution or Credit Card Company. Contact them first to verify that the request is legitimate. Never send money via a wire from your bank to pay for any service or product. You will never be able to recover those funds once they are wired. Always use a credit card or PayPal type account to make payments. You can always cancel those payments if you discover they are fraudulent. Do not use a debit card to make payments.
Article source: Forbes.com