Top scams targeting veterans

Veterans Day is Sunday and scammers are going to great lengths to target those who have served our country.

The Federal Trade Commission says they received more than 100,000 scam complaints from military members or their families in 2017 alone. Additionally, the AARP Fraud Watch Network says 80% of all veterans have been targeted in scams throughout their lifetime.

So how can we protect those who protect us this Veterans Day? By knowing how these scams work:

Cash for benefits scheme: Scammers target veterans in need of money by offering cash in exchange for future disability or pension payments, but the buyouts are typically a fraction of the value. You can contact an accredited Veterans Affairs representative here before making any decisions.

Update your military file scam: A caller will claim to be with the Department of Veterans Affairs and ask you to update your information, but in reality, they’re looking to steal your credit card number. Instead, call a representative yourself.

Charity hoax: A caller will ask you to donate money to a disabled veteran, but the so-called charity is not registered with the government. Most of the money is pocketed for the scammers personal use. Research charities at Give.org or on Charity Navigator before donating.

Veterans Choice Program scam: Scammers will set up a phone number nearly identical to the Veterans Choice Program number, which is what veterans call to find out if they’re eligible for health care providers outside of the VA system. The scammer will tell the caller that he/ she needs to provide a credit card number. Make sure to dial the correct number at 1-866-606-8198.

If you or someone you know has fallen victim to one of these scams, report it to your local authorities or AARP (protectveterans@aarp.org or 877-908-3360).