Veterans are more likely to lose money from scams than civilians
HARRISBURG, Pennsylvania., November 15, 2021 / PRNewswire / – Pennsylvania 943,417 military veterans and active service members are at risk of being the target of con artists. According to a new AARP report, veterans, military personnel and their families are almost 40% more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population. In addition, 4 in 5 adult military / veterans have been the target of scams directly related to their military service or the benefits they receive.
“Our research underscores the need to Pennsylvania veterans and their families to keep abreast of the latest scams and know how to avoid them, ”said Bill Johnston-Walsh, Pennsylvania State Director of AARP. “AARP Pennsylvania continues to fight for those who have proudly served our state by arming them with information and resources to avoid the financial and emotional impact of scams and fraud. ”
Scammers often use military jargon and specific government guidelines to craft an effective case for stealing money from the military and veterans. One in three adult military / veterans report losing money to these types of service scams. Among those who lost money, the top scams reported include:
- Benefit Buybacks: Transfer of US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) retirement and / or disability benefits for a supposed lump sum payment that never materializes (47%).
- Fraudulent Records Scam: Paying for Updated Personal Military Records (32%).
- The bogus charitable donation request: donating to bogus veterans charities (32%).
Other main findings include:
- Adult military / veterans reported losing more money than civilians to the impostor grandparent scam (more than twice as often) and financial phishing schemes (almost twice as often).
- Almost half of adult military / veterans said they do not use an automated call blocking service and more than one in four had not registered their phone number on the national do not call registry .
- 81% of military / adult veterans did not place a security freeze on their credit report.
To make scams easier to spot, AARP Fraud Watch Network recommends registering with the National Do Not Call Register and using a call blocking service. Additional measures include: the use of strong and unique passwords for each online account; use two-factor authentication when available; and placing a free security freeze on credit reports at each of the three major credit bureaus. Plus, veterans never have to pay for their service or benefits – if they are told otherwise, it is a scam.
Operation Protect Veterans — a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the US Postal Inspection Service — helps Pennsylvania veterans, military personnel and their families to protect against fraud. The Fraud Watch Network also offers bi-weekly fraud alerts and a toll-free helpline (877-908-3360) through which veterans, the military and the public can report suspected scams. The AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans Edition explains 10 ways crooks target veterans. For more information and resources for veterans on the latest frauds and scams, visit www.aarp.org/veterans.
The survey was administered in August 2021 to a total of 1,660 people: 851 active or former US military respondents and 809 non-military adults (civilians) aged 18 and over using NORC’s AmeriSpeak Internet Panel. The margin of error is 4.40% at the 90% confidence level.
AARP is the nation’s largest non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and over to choose their lifestyle as they age. With a national presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal development. The AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.
Teresa osborne, [email protected], (717) 237-6482
SOURCE AARP Pennsylvania