Be Mindful of Scams Targeting Veterans

veterans-day-scam-blog

As families honor former military personnel on Veterans Day, Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest urges consumers to remain vigilant against scammers targeting veterans.

The  Consumer Sentinel Network reports nearly 100,000 military members complained of being targeted by financial crimes in 2015, with identity theft and impostor scams topping the list. Con artists often use malevolent tactics to steal the money and identities of veterans and their families.

Better Business Bureau reminds service men and women to watch for these common military scams:

Phone Scams: Impostors pose as Veterans Administration employees and call veterans to request they update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA. Fraudsters use scare tactics by threatening cancelation of benefits to collect birthdates, Social Security numbers and bank account information.

Rental Listings: Cyber thieves create bogus online rental listings and lure in potential victims by offering military discounts. Victims are asked to wire deposits and first month’s rent to “landlords” who happen to be out of the country.

Military Loans: Sketchy lenders promise “instant approvals” and no credit checks, but loans often carry extremely high interest rates and hidden fees.

Insurance Policies: Solicitors make false statements or inflate claims regarding the benefits of policies they offer, using high-pressured sales pitches to sell expensive—and often unnecessary—life insurance policies.

Donors looking to give to a military-affiliated charity this Veterans Day are urged to use Wise Giving Alliance in finding a trustworthy charity.  Consumers are also advised to research businesses through bbb.org before giving out personal information, making payments or giving donations.

Since 2012, service men and women have been utilizing BBB’s Military Line, a program that provides free resources to all branches of the U.S. military, including financial literacy information, scam alerts and access to BBB services such as complaint handling and dispute resolution.

5 Things You Didn’t Know About BBB

magnifying glass

Better Business Bureau has been serving consumers and businesses for more than 100 years. That’s more than a century of helping to advance marketplace trust. While you may be familiar with our grading system, there’s probably a lot you don’t know about BBB. So let’s take a look at some of the services and missions we work at every day.

Here are five things you didn’t know about BBB:

5 things you didn't know about BBB 2

1. We are here for servicemembers and vets. 

The BBB Military Line is a consumer education program that offers a MobileMi$$ion app, which provides resources for vets, active duty and retired military personnel. The app is designed for transitioning servicemembers, veterans, and their families to help them navigate their finances during the shift from active duty to civilian life. This app provides access to educational activities, a financial mentor, and peer chat support on the go, wherever you are.

Want to speak to someone in person? Better Business Bureau serving the Northwest is available to give presentations to military personnel on scams and identity theft, wise buying, car shopping, buying a home, investing in higher education and much more. Contact our Marketplace Development Team at marketplace@thebbb.org.

Handshake - Business deal concept

2. Request a Quote

This one is specific to Accredited Businesses only, but is important to note. Once businesses receive accreditation they can install the Request a Quote button on their BBB Business Review page so customers can quickly and easily ask for estimates, information or proposals from the business.

But wait, there’s more. If a customer is looking for a bid, but doesn’t know which company to go with, they can send requests to multiple companies. Find out more at www.bbb.org/northwest/quote.

Email Computer Key For Emailing Or Contacting

3. Serve as mediators. 

BBB has been helping resolve disputes between businesses and consumers for more than a century and whether your company is a small local firm or large national corporation, we are here to share our expertise and experience with you and your customers. A panel of approximately 1,000 professional arbitrators–predominantly attorneys–partner with the BBB system to provide arbitration hearings that are local and yet consistent with overall program mandates. The programs are developed for specific industries, including automotive, telecommunication and moving and storage. This service helps both businesses and customers save time and money when handling legal issues.

5 things you didn't know about BBB 5

4. We are looking out for our future.   

Teenagers are making economic decisions every day and with advances in technology they are doing a lot of it online. But who is educating them on how to be smart consumers? Our Marketplace Development Team visits high schools across the northwest educating our youth about identity theft, social media safety, scholarships and financial aid. They can come out to your organization and present on these topics. Locally, we host a $10,000 scholarship contest for a high school senior who personifies high ethics, as demonstrated through leadership, community service, overall personal integrity and academic accomplishments.

Scam Alert Indicates Rip Off And Advertisement

5. We investigate scams.

BBB Scam Tracker provides consumers across North America with a place to report scams and fraud and to warn others of malicious or suspicious activities. All 112 BBBs operating in Canada and the United States are collecting information from consumers and processing data, which is shared with law enforcement agencies for use in identifying and prosecuting scammers. Go to bbb.org/scamtracker to see the interactive map and see what scams are happening in your area.

This is just a fraction of the types of services BBB offers. To learn more visit bbb.org/northwest today.