Memorial Day Scams Target Military, Families, Supporters

  
     
May 09, 2012

Memorial Day Scams Target Military, Families,Supporters

 

Memorial Day is a time tohonor those who serve and remember those who have died in war. But sadly, ithas also become a key opportunity for scammers to target those who are servingor have served their nation, especially elderly veterans. BBB is urgingconsumers and donors to be on the lookout for deals that seem too good to betrue, and for disreputable charities.

 

“The unique lifestyle of ourservice members makes them prime targets for scammers,” notes BrendaLinnington, Director of BBB Military Line. “It’s imperative that we educate our service members and ensure that thesupport we give to them equals the effort they make every day on behalf of us.” Linnington said scams caninclude those that target service personnel and theirfamilies directly, but also those that appear to be helping military membersvia charities.

 

“Donorsneed to watch out for questionable charities that raise funds on behalf ofmilitary organizations,” adds Art Taylor, President and CEO of the BBB WiseGiving Alliance. “When you make a donation, always check www.give.org to seethat the group meets BBB charity standards, especially around MemorialDay.  Too many solicitors that fail tomeet BBB standards call and say they  help  veterans, service members or their families,and little of the money donated will serve that purpose.”

 

Among the scams to watch outfor:

 

·        Posing as theVeterans Administration and contacting veterans to say they need to updatetheir credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA;

 

·        Charging servicemembers for services they could get for free or less expensively elsewhere,such as military records;

 

·        Fraudulentinvestment schemes that convince veterans to transfer their assets into anirrevocable trust;

 

·        Offering “instantapproval” military loans (“no credit check,” “all ranks approved”) that canhave high interest rates and hidden fees;

 

·        Advertisinghousing online with military discounts and incentives, and then bilking servicepersonnel out of the security deposit;

 

·        Trying to sellthings like security systems to spouses of deployed military personnel bysaying the service member ordered it to protect his or her family;

 

·        Selling stolenvehicles at low prices by claiming to be soldiers who need to sell fast becausethey’ve been deployed;

 

·        Posing asgovernment contractors recruiting veterans and then asking for a copy of thejob applicants’ passport (which contains a lot of personal information);

 

·        Posing on onlinedating services as a lonely service member in a remote part of Iraq or Afghanistan, and then asking for money to be wired to a thirdparty for some emergency.

 

BBB advises service members, veterans and all consumers neverto give personal identification information (Social Security, bank account,military identification or credit card numbers, etc.) to anyone who contactsyou by phone or e-mail, and to be wary of any solicitations that involvepurchasing something or transferring money. Consumers can check out businessesand charities for free at www.bbb.org.

 

For more information, visit www.bbb.org/us/military-line