In 2021, military fraudsters stole $257 million from service members and Veterans.

In recent testimony to the House Oversight and Reform Committee on National Security, the Federal Trade Commission stated that this number is a 162% increase from the previous year. Further, the data indicates that the average amount of money lost by military scam victims is a 20% increase from non-military scam victims.

Now more than ever, if you are a service member, Veteran or military spouse, it is imperative to be educated on the ways these scam artists and fraudsters can target you. These attacks generally happen through unsolicited phone calls and emails by people misrepresenting themselves, either by pretending to work for VA or an organization sympathetic to our military community.

Veterans might encounter the following scams:

  • Identity Theft
  • Pension Poaching
  • Coronavirus Scams
  • Investment Fraud
  • Schemes with various offers or military discounts
  • Illegal auto sales
  • Deceptive claims and recruiting tactics at for-profit schools
  • Sham charities that exploit the public’s desire to help Veterans

Veterans can take precautions to minimize their chance of becoming a victim, such as being vigilant with personal information and watching out for aggressive fundraising tactics that ask them to donate money to a “Veterans Charity.“

How to Stay Safe

  • Think twice if you receive emails or letters that look unprofessional and have misspelled words.
  • See if a charity is legitimate by checking with Charity Watch.
  • Answer your benefit questions by contacting the VA Benefits Hotline. For other benefit-related questions, refer to this database.
  • Ensure that investment advisors are legitimate by checking with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority tool.
  • Contact VA directly at 1-800-827-1000 if you receive correspondence from VA stating you filed a claim, but you did not.

What Not to Do

  • Never assume that a company or charity with a military-sounding name is legitimate.
  • Never open emails from unknown senders that appear to be spam emails.
  • Do not make donations through FedEx, UPS or a similar carrier. Scammers use these shipping and receiving companies to avoid mail fraud charges.
  • Never give out your personal or financial information to anyone unless you are confident who it is.
  • Never pay for copies of your military records—you can acquire those for free at VA.
  • Never wire money to strangers, even if they say they are Veterans.
  • Don’t allow anyone access to your VA information unless that person is your authorized power of attorney.

If you are the victim of a Veterans-related scam, please contact the FTC by phone at 877-382-4357 or on their website. You can also contact VA’s Office of Inspector General for other ways to fight fraud.

By VA Office of Information and Technology (OIT), Washington, D.C.

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Published on Oct. 11, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.2 min.

Views to date: 9,254

11 Comments

  1. James Jenkins October 26, 2022 at 6:42 pm

    Nice to see DAV and a few veterans owners businesses are not the only one who understands the pervasive problem.

  2. James Griego October 24, 2022 at 12:56 pm

    I recently received a letter that stated I was losing my benefits that I have had for close 20 yeas, they said they are from the A and needed information from me about my pension and when I got home I got it what was my current situation with the SSA? I am a 73 yr old senior citizen with disabilities Hearing, arthritis in multiple sites, kidney, heart, sleep apnea, waiting on a new knee, also surgical procedures to reattach my elbow and shoulder tendons, very high blood pressure, hospitalized many times for heart kidneys, you have to be pretty low to steal from a veteran like me and my wife of 52 yrs, who has stage 4 COPD,

  3. Lorraine Justin October 21, 2022 at 10:39 pm

    The best way to prevent scams and fraud on Veterans is to go to your local legislator and have them write a state law that that those who prey on Veteran’s & Senior citizens
    Will be locked away for Infinity & beyond.
    {BTW: Legislation has a better chance of passing if you add Senior Citizens in the mix,} We passed this law in Cali & it works !

  4. George Holmes October 21, 2022 at 2:17 pm

    Thank you! This has opened my eye to a lot of things I had questions about.

  5. MSgt Deanna G Porter Peck, Ret. October 21, 2022 at 8:04 am

    Another ‘scam’ going around in our area, (Madison, WI), are “fellow veterans” who allegedly own “cleaning businesses” or “Handyman Services” that are giving discounts on services for veterans. They come into your home and do the ‘assessment’, checking out security systems, video surveillance, easy entrances, dogs, etc.
    Shortly after the homes assessment, if it is found vulnerable in any way, it will be burglarized. Sometimes an entry point may be unsecured on the day the services are provided leaving an unsuspecting home owner or renter open to home invasion that night.
    In many cases it can’t be proven that the cleaning crew or handyman was directly involved but the pattern of burglaries in the area are showing that this is a common factor in many cases. An unknown access of the thief without ‘breaking’ and entering the home is being proven.
    NO arrests have been made in the multiple burglaries as of yet.

  6. the truth October 20, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    maybe it should be law to serve. maybe then scammers could qualify for their own benefits.

  7. Disgruntled Vet October 20, 2022 at 10:05 am

    You forgot the biggest scammer of vets …..the VA. They take in billions of dollars and do everything in thier power to keep it from vets who need compensation and treatment. Just look at the c and p claims process and how backed up it is.

    • Lorraine Justin October 21, 2022 at 10:51 pm

      You know, you get more with honey than sour grapes. When I retired from medicine, instead of whining about it I got involved in a think tank to solve Veterans, their wives & families problems by lobbying for us. Since 2001 my Vet friends & I took Ethics courses & went & got licenses to lobby in DC., then cut & paste the ideas after it becomes a federal law & run it through our State Legislature. We’ve become a machine !
      Since then, we’ve written & passed over a thousand laws to change the landscape here, on
      “ everything Veteran” why don’t you use that
      energy for change, Dude ?
      Signed, Quitchurbellyachen &changeLawsForVet’s!

  8. Ray Gibson October 17, 2022 at 6:04 am

    There are far more scams happening on the internet and some in the general public than is being reported or paid attention to. Companies & people claiming to be about vets scamming veterans and vets scamming vets. ALL corporations allow it to happen, and all the organizations that are supposed to do anything about it are lazy and don’t want to do their jobs. Mainly the FTC and internet organizations.

    Also the OAG is like the BBB is to Corporations. They do nothing but send you back into the mouth of the lion. There is no incentive for the lion not to eat veterans alive & whole. SMH

    • Ray Gibson October 17, 2022 at 6:06 am

      Oh, so that dollar amount is far less than it seems.

  9. Coulette Dobbins October 13, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Since June 2021, I have been trying to get some answers from the VA Loan Center in Houston Texas, I have an open Congressional with Troy Nehl’s office since October 2021, due to the Appraisal department refusing to answer my question. I’ve contacted OAG and what they do.. keep looping it through. Why? I get it, their your buddies, but not one damn person involved in this mess is a Veteran.

Comments are closed.

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