Frauds & Scams

Stay Alert: Fraudsters Target Veterans, Active-Duty Service Members, and Their Families

November 9, 2023 • By

Reading Time: 2 Minutes

Last Updated: November 14, 2023

Mid adult veteran takes time from meeting to text wifeDid you know that fraudsters target veterans, active-duty service members, and their families at a higher rate than they do civilians? They are also 40% more likely than their civilian counterparts to lose money to scams and schemes.

Why? Fraudsters follow the money. Service members receive a steady paycheck, and many veterans receive regular benefit payments.

Fraudsters frequently use military jargon and specific government guidelines to craft an effective pitch to extort money. AARP reports that the most common scams are:

Pension Poaching

An unethical adviser may promise to help veterans increase their retirement savings or receive extra benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Be wary of anyone offering to move your assets to qualify for a VA pension. Check the VA’s searchable database or call 855-578-5492 to determine if an attorney or financial professional is VA-accredited and has the necessary training to complete and submit claims.

Benefits Buyout

A fraudster may offer a payment in exchange for military disability or pension payments. The one-time payment never materializes or is significantly lower than the value of the benefit. To avoid falling victim to this scam, make sure to apply directly – free of charge – to the VA if you think you are eligible for the agency’s Aid and Attendance benefits.

Records Scheme

A fraudster may try to charge you for using or updating Direct Deposit Form 214 – even though this form is free. The VA will never ask for personal information by phone, text, or email. If you are contacted by someone who claims to be from the VA and asks for personal information, such as your Social Security number, do not respond and hang up. Call the agency directly at 1-800-MyVA411 (800-698-2411).

Fake Veterans’ Charities

A fraudster may pretend to represent a fake veterans’ charity or cause that claims to raise money for struggling veterans and military families. But the fraudster pockets the money, taking donations away from legitimate charities that serve veterans. Research an organization before donating. Check out CharityWatch.org or CharityNavigator.org.

‘Special’ Military Deals

There are legitimate discounts honoring the contributions of service members and veterans. A fraudster, possibly posing as a soon-to-be-deployed service member, may offer the veteran a special deal on cars, electronics, or other products. They often ask for wired payments, then disappear without providing the goods. Do not send money to someone you do not know or have only met online or over the phone.

Fraudsters know that a veteran’s patriotism can be an open door to their heart and wallet. They approach veterans with appeals to military service brotherhood. Follow the tips above to protect yourself and your family.

Victims of fraud can report suspected fraud, waste, and abuse via the Program Integrity Fraud, Waste, and Abuse Complaint Form, VA Form 10-0500. Scams can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and the Inspector General Hotline at: 1-877-777-4021. Learn more on the AARP Veterans Fraud Center page and the VA’s Fraud page.

Please share this information with the veterans and military members in your life.

Our posting of this blog does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation of any non-Social Security organization, author, or webpages.

Did you find this Information helpful?

Yes
No
Thanks for your feedback!

Tags: , , ,

See Comments

About the Author

Comments

Please review our Comment Policy before leaving a comment.

  1. Estus S.

    Great article about fraud and scams directed specifically at the military community.

    One comment to the author… DD Form, as in DD Form 214 does not refer to Direct Deposit. It is Department of Defense Form 214.

    Reply
    • Rick C.

      It is always nice to get a heads up. Some is to lazy to work so they steal from others. Thank you

      Reply
  2. John F.

    Great and much needed information..

    Reply
  3. Tony

    The charity scammers should run for congress like George Santos.

    Reply
    • COTTONCANDY

      THERE WERE ALREADY ENOUGH SCAMMERS IN CONGRESS; EVEN BEFORE GEORGE SANTOS SET FOOT IN THERE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

      Reply
  4. Penny

    Is there a way to have this on a flyer or poster to post for my Veterans?

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Please review our Comment Policy before leaving a comment. For your safety, please do not post Personally Identifiable Information (such as your Social Security Number, address, phone number, email address, bank account number, or birthdate) on our blog.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *