BBB warns of scams targeting military members, individuals
Freeman, The (Waukesha, WI)
MILWAUKEE — The Wisconsin Better Business Bureau (BBB) released information on Wednesday to warn active duty military members and the general public about scams that either target service members or utilize patriotic sentiment to scam individuals.
"Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer, is also a time to honor those who have lost their lives for our country," said the release. "Unfortunately, scammers use this time of year to take advantage of victims in a variety of schemes with a patriotic or military approach."
According to the release, active duty military members lost significantly more money on average, $300, compared to military spouses, $170, or veterans, $220, in 2021. Additionally, the percentage of active duty members that were the victim of a scam was nearly 42% than that of veterans, military spouses and the general population (which was a similar percentage to both military spouses and veterans.)
To help active duty military members, the BBB created the Military Line, available at tinyurl.com/bdfdew23, to provide free resources to all service members, including financial literacy information, access to BBB services, scam alerts and more.
According to the BBB, some scams that have targeted active duty military members include high-priced military loans, veterans’ benefits buyout plans, fake rental properties, misleading car sales and expensive life insurance policies.
To avoid scams, the BBB recommends doing research into a business or charity, never wiring transfer money to anyone you don’t know, protecting your computer by not clicking on unsolicited links or emails and putting an Active Duty alert on your credit reports when deployed.
Additionally, the BBB warned of scams that may take advantage of a person’s patriotism or support for the armed services and lead people to believe they are making a charitable donation when they are being swindled.
According to the BBB, when making charitable donations make sure you get the charity’s exact name and check it (as there are over 28,000 veterans/military service organizations and mistake identity is a common problem), watch out for excessive pressure demands, check their websites for basic information about their mission, programs and finances (which can be also be found at give.org) and check with state government officials.