Memorial Day can be a big opportunity for scammers
MONROE, La. (KNOE) - The Better Business Bureau is trying to keep military families from becoming victims of a scam.
Jo-Ann Deal with the BBB of Northeast Louisiana says Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Labor Day are big opportunities for scammers to take advantage.
She says it’s important for veterans and their families to be aware of the different types of scams, so they can spot them.
The Better Business Bureau warns of the following types of scams typically directed at service members:
- High-priced military loans: Advertisements for loans that promise a guarantee, instant approval, or no credit check will often come with hidden fees and extremely high-interest rates. Remember that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before you apply, and loans that require an upfront fee are likely a scam.
- Veterans’ benefits buyout plans: This buyout plan will offer a cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments. The BBB says the cash amount is only about 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to. These buyout plans can be structured in several different ways, so research thoroughly before signing anything over.
- Fake rental properties: Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives. Service members will have to pay a fee via wire transfer for security payments or a key to the property – in the end, they will receive nothing.
- Misleading car sales: Websites posting classified ads will offer false discounts for military personnel or claim to be from soldiers who need to sell their vehicles fast since they have been deployed. Upfront fees will be required via wire transfer, or the vehicle will have problems after purchase.
- Expensive life insurance policies: Members of the military are often the targets of high-pressure sales pitches that offer unnecessary, expensive life insurance policies. Solicitors may make false statements regarding the benefits that these policies offer.
To avoid these scams, Deal says you’ve got to do research on any offer before giving out personal/financial info. Also - don’t click on links within unsolicited emails, they could be malicious. Make sure you’ve got anti-virus software and your computer is up to date. Deal says don’t wire money to someone you don’t know because it’s almost impossible to track and they might be scammers. Lastly, put an ‘Active Duty Alert’ on your credit reports while deployed because it can limit the chance of identity theft.
Deal also says the, “BBB’s Military Line provides free resources, such as financial literacy information, access to BBB services, Scam Alerts, and complaint and dispute resolution for all branches of the U.S. military.”
If you have questions about this or any other scam, call the BBB at (318) 387-4600 (they will be out of the office on Memorial Day, but will be back on Tuesday 5/31).
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