AARP Fraud Protection
No one is immune from scams, and that includes our nation’s veterans. In fact, scammers specifically target veterans, assuming they have a regular stream of income from VA benefits. Scams can involve going after pension or disability benefits, fake requests for personal information, charity scams, fake rebate offers, and more. Be vigilant. The VA won’t request personal information by phone, email, or text. Use sites like charitynavigator.org before donating. And trust your instincts. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself. For more information, go to aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.
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Veterans Remain Prime Targets for Scammers
While veterans and non-veterans alike are targeted by scammers, an AARP study found that veterans are twice as likely to lose money to fraud schemes. And during our ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it comes as no surprise that scam artists are, as always, looking to line their own pockets. As Americans honor those who have served their country on Veterans Day, scammers go to great lengths to target their money and their benefits.
How it works:
Targeting veterans can take many forms. These include:
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) scams: Scammers call claiming to be from the VA or Tricare with offers of a COVID testing kit in exchange for your personal or financial information. They may also claim to have early access to a vaccine or treatment, again, in exchange for that information.
- The cash for benefits scheme: Predatory lenders target veterans in need of money by offering cash in exchange for future disability or pension payments.
- Charity scams: A caller claims to be raising money for disabled veterans or veterans with cancer or, more recently, COVID-19.
- Employment scams: Con artists post bogus job offers to recruit veterans on various online job boards.
What you should know:
- There is no vaccine yet for COVID-19. And, you won’t first hear about a legitimate treatment or cure for COVID-19 by a phone call, so don’t engage. The caller is trying to steal your money or your identity.
- Be wary of offers to veterans for upfront cash in exchange for future disability or pension payments. The policies typically are worth only a fraction of the stated value of the benefit.
- Scammers pull on our heart strings to convince us to donate to a cause we care deeply about. This is especially true for the men and women who have served our country.
- Veterans and military spouses lose more money to employment scams than the general population because scammers see them as hot targets.
What you should do:
- The VA may check in with you by phone, email or text, but if you aren’t sure the contact is legitimate, verify by calling the VA at 800-827-1000.
- Only work with VA-accredited representatives when dealing with VA benefits. You can search for them online at the VA Office of General Counsel website.
- Check out charities through websites such as org or charitynavigator.org before donating to a cause.
- It’s a scam if you have to pay upfront to get the job, supply payment information or pay for your personal military records, or if the ad refers to “previously undisclosed” federal jobs.
For more information on COVID-19 specific to veterans, visit the AARP information page at bit.ly/Veterans-COVID.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to help protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family.