July 2, 2022
  • July 2, 2022

Scams target military families around Memorial Day

By on March 11, 2021 0

Through Gitte Laasby with Sentinel magazine

For most people, Remembrance Day is a time to honor those who serve and to commemorate those who died in the war. But it has also become a key opportunity for scammers to target those who serve or have served their nation, especially senior veterans, warns the Wisconsin Better Business Bureau.

Among the scams targeting members of the service and veterans:

  • High prices of military loans: Loan ads that promise a guarantee, immediate approval, or no credit check often contain hidden fees and very high interest rates. “Remember that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before applying, and loans that require an upfront payment are likely a scam,” said the BBB.
  • Veteran’s Allowance Redemption Plans: Offer a cash payment in exchange for future benefits or disability pension payments to a veteran. The amount of cash is only around 30% to 40% of what a veteran is entitled to. Redemption plans can be structured in several different ways, so do research carefully before signing anything, says BBB.
  • Fake Properties for Rent: Stolen photos of legal rental properties are used in ads promising military discounts and other incentives. Service members will need to pay a bank transfer fee for security or key to the property. After all, they won’t get anything, says BBB.
  • Fake jury summons: A scammer calls, claiming to work for the local judicial system, and states that a member of the service has not appeared on the jury and now has an arrest warrant. When the victim says they never got a summons, the caller will ask for a credit card number or social security number to clear up the matter.
  • Misleading car sales: Websites that publish classified ads sometimes offer false discounts to military personnel or claim to come from soldiers who need to sell their vehicle quickly because they have been deployed. Prepayments will be required by bank transfer otherwise the vehicle will have problems after purchase.
  • Expensive life insurance policies Military members are often the target of aggressive sales offers that offer unnecessary, expensive life insurance policies. Attorneys may make false statements about the benefits this policy offers.

BBB encourages consumers to do their research and obtain as much information as possible about the company or charity before paying. You can check out the company’s BBB business review or charity report.

Don’t give money to anyone you don’t know. Money sent via wire transfer is virtually impossible to trace. Pay with your credit card whenever possible to easily dispute charges.

After implementation, include an “active business alert” in your credit reports. Doing so will minimize the risk of identity theft as creditors and companies cannot issue or grant credit until they have verified their identity.

Military line BBB, the military arm of the Better Business Bureau, offers free resources such as financial information, access to BBB services and fraud alerts, and complaints and dispute resolution to all U.S. military branches.

About Gitte Laasby

Gitte Laasby is a Public Investigator for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. He studies government and consumer affairs.