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Tips to Avoid Scams Targeting Veterans

BBB logoSedona AZ (November 9, 2014)Veterans Day is a time to honor those who have served our country. Unfortunately, it has also become a time to build awareness about scammers who take advantage of veterans and active duty military personnel. Better Business Bureau (BBB) wants to make sure those who serve do not become victims of fraud and encourages them to stay informed about the latest schemes in today’s marketplace.

BBB provides the following tips to help veterans and their families avoid becoming victims of fraud:

  • Look out for firms that charge for products and services veterans can receive free or at a lower cost – such as military records, forms or benefits. Information on how to qualify for veteran benefits can be obtained by contacting the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services at www.azdvs.gov.
  • Be cautious of unknown callers saying they need to update credit card information or records with the Veterans Administration. Remember, federal agencies do not contact veterans via e-mail or text, and if they do call, they don’t request personal information.
  • Be aware of “MyPay” or No Pay apps, third party mobile applications that reference the Department of Defense Finance and Accounting Services’ (DFAS) myPay system for federal employees and members of the uniformed services. The Department of Defense and the U.S. Government do not sponsor third party mobile applications, and using non-sanctioned applications to access myPay accounts can compromise account information that could lead to theft of funds. The Info2go app is the only DFAS authorized app.
  • Research before saying yes to life insurance policies. Members of the military are often target of high-pressure sales pitches that offer unnecessary, expensive life insurance policies. Solicitors usually make false statements regarding the benefits that these policies offer.
  • Donate wisely and be wary of charitable appeals from unknown organizations referencing veterans or the Armed Forces. For more information on wise giving, visit www.give.org.
  • Research calls from veteran advocates offering additional benefits by transferring investments into an irrevocable trust. Before sharing personal or financial information over the phone, verify with whom you are speaking. Remember, scammers can make any phone number or name appear on a caller I.D.
  • Be cautious of enticing military loans with flashy offers promising, “up to 40 percent of your monthly take home pay,” “guaranteed loans,” “instant approval,” “no credit check,” or “all ranks approved.” These offers often come with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees.
  • Watch out for low-priced vehicles posted on classified ad websites that advertise discounts for military personnel, or claim to be soldiers who need to sell fast because they’ve been deployed. Scammers often convince buyers to wire money and disappear once the money is received without delivering the vehicle. Never wire money to unknown individuals.
  • Place an “active duty alert” on credit reports if you are an actively deployed military personnel to help minimize the risk of identity theft. With this alert, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires creditors and businesses to verify identities before issuing or granting credit.

Veterans AdministrationVeterans may report scams to BBB at www.bbb.org, the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.

For the latest military consumer alerts and information, follow BBB Military Line on Facebook at www.facebook.com/militaryline and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BBB_MilLine.

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For the best Arizona news and views, read www.SedonaEye.com daily!

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