Memorial Day Scams Target Military, Families, Supporters

  
     
May 23, 2014

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who serve and remember those who have died in war. But sadly, it has also become a key opportunity for scammers to target those who are serving or have served their nation.

Better Business Bureau Serving Southern Arizona is urging consumers and donors to be on the lookout for deals that seem too good to be true, and for disreputable charities.

“It’s imperative that we educate our service members and ensure that the support we give to them equals the effort they make every day on our behalf,” notes Kim States, BBB President.

States said scams can include those that target service personnel and their families directly, but also those that appear to be helping military members via charities.

“This time of year, donors need to watch out for questionable charities that say they raise funds on behalf of military organizations,” she said. “When you make a donation, always check www.give.org to see that the group meets BBB charity standards, especially around Memorial Day.  Too many solicitors that fail to meet BBB standards call and say they help veterans, service members or their families, and little of the money donated will serve that purpose.”

BBB sees scammers targeting our service members at all times of the year by way of:

  • Posing as the Veterans Administration and contacting veterans to say they need to update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA in attempt to steal identities.
  • Charging service members for services they could get for free or less expensively elsewhere, such as military records.
  • Fraudulent investment schemes that convince veterans to transfer their assets into an irrevocable trust.
  • Offering “instant approval” military loans (“no credit check,” “all ranks approved”) that can have high interest rates and hidden fees.
  • Advertising housing online with military discounts and incentives, and then bilking service personnel out of the security deposit.
  • Trying to sell things like security systems to spouses of deployed military personnel by saying the service member ordered it to protect his or her family.
  • Posing as government contractors recruiting veterans and then asking for a copy of the job applicants’ passport (which contains a lot of personal information).
  • Posing as a service member in a remote part of Iraq or Afghanistan, and then asking for money to be wired to a third party for some emergency.

BBB advises service members, veterans and all consumers never to give personal identification information (Social Security, bank account, military identification or credit card numbers, etc.) to anyone who contacts you by phone or e-mail, and to be wary of any solicitations that involve purchasing something or transferring money.

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