Service members and their families make many sacrifices for their country. However, there’s one sacrifice they don’t expect: being a target for scammers.
Unfortunately, aspects of a service member’s job often make them more vulnerable to scams. Perhaps most importantly, they have a guaranteed and steady income that scammers would love to have access to. They are also frequently deployed and move around often, which makes staying on top of red flags in bills and credit reports more difficult. Additionally, new service members are often young and financially inexperienced, and these qualities may attract scammers. Despite the stereotype of the elderly scam victim, millennials are actually the most likely to lose money to scams.
Individuals who self-identified as being active-duty military personnel, veterans or military spouses represented 8.5% of reports to BBB Scam Tracker in 2016. These individuals may be more susceptible when exposed to a scam, with 21.0% reporting losses, compared to 18.6% of non-military individuals. More striking is the median loss of $350, nearly 35% higher than the non-military median loss of $260.
The BBB Risk Index measures risk by exposure (how likely you are to be targeted), susceptibility (your odds of losing money when exposed), and monetary loss (if you do lose money, how big the losses will be).
According to the BBB Risk Index, these are the top three riskiest scams for military families and veterans.
BBB Institute of Marketplace Trust runs the BBB Military Line program to help military families and veterans avoid scams and fraud. BBB Military Line is tailored to military consumers and their families and provides consumer education resources both online and through local outreach. To learn more, visit bbb.org/military.
If you or someone that you know has been affected by a scam, report it to BBB Scam Tracker to warn others. You never know, your report could help save someone a lot of money and prevent a big headache.