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4 ways scammers target military families

Updated: Jun. 1, 2021 at 9:36 AM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - In light of Memorial Day, the Better Business Bureau has some reminders for veterans and servicemen and women. They say it’s important for military families not to let their guards down because they’re often targeted more than the average consumer.

According to the Consumer Sentinel Network Data Book, military families filed 58,000 scam complaints in 2019.

Jo-Ann Deal with the BBB of Northeast Louisiana says there are four ways scammers target military families most often; they include the imposter scam, job scams, car scams, and foreclosure scams.

“We also have had many veterans ask us about job scams in which scammers are just online to get your information and there’s not really a job. The car scams are common as well, especially during income tax return times in the summertime, when you buy a used car and it doesn’t work and then you don’t know what to do. So especially if you’re a military family buying cars and making decisions in a hurry leave you targets,” says Deal. “The other scam that we don’t talk about very much on TV is the foreclosure scam, and it definitely affects military families more than others. An organization contacts you that they’ll save your home from foreclosure, it feeds on your fear of losing your home, and then they charge you an exorbitant amount.”

One of the reasons military families might be targeted more by scammers is that they have to make quick decisions.

“They have short amounts of time to make decisions or they don’t know how long they’re going to be in a particular location, whether it’s a year, two years, several months, sometimes they’re asked to move quickly, or sometimes they get home and they want to buy a car and they’re in a hurry and they make bad car decisions,” says Deal.

And if you’re ever asked to pay a fee for a government card online, she says don’t do it. Recently, they had a caller pay $80 online for a social security card and Medicare card. Deal says the scammers charge a small fee to get some of your personal and financial information.

“If you need a Medicare card please go to medicare.gov, if you need a social security card please go to ssa.gov, if at any point when you’re online and you think that someone is impostering the federal government please just hang up or disconnect,” says Deal.

Deal says people can impersonate government agencies and even friends or family members to get you to send money or give up your information. If you’re getting a lot of scam or robocalls, she says you should block the numbers.

You can call the BBB’s Monroe office at (318) 387-4600.

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