May 26, 2013 in Business

BBB Tip of the Week: Scams targeting the military

 

On Memorial Day we celebrate and honor the men and women who serve or have served in our nation’s military. However, scammers targeting the military don’t take a holiday.

To help current and former military personnel and their loved ones, the BBB Military Line website at www.bbb.org/us/Military contains links to free resources, such as financial literacy information, scam alerts, and complaint and dispute resolution for all branches of the U.S. military.

The BBB warns of the following scams:

• Fake jury duty summons: A caller claiming to work for the court system says the service member didn’t show up for jury duty and that an arrest warrant has been issued. When the victim says a summons never came, the caller asks for a credit card or Social Security number to clear up the matter.

• Veterans benefits buyout plans: Buyout plans offer cash payment in exchange for future benefit or pension payments. The cash payout is usually only 30-40 percent of the veteran’s entitled amount. Before signing anything over, thoroughly research the offer.

• High-priced military loans: Loans targeting military personnel that guarantee instant approval and no credit check often have hidden fees and very high interest rates.

• Bogus rental properties: Some advertisements promising military discounts and other incentives use photos boosted from legitimate rental sites and ask for a security fee or deposit. When the money is sent, you get nothing in return.

Keep the following tips in mind before spending money:

• Don’t send a wire transfer to strangers. Instead, pay by credit card. That way you can dispute charges.

• Protect your computer. Don’t click links in unsolicited emails. Don’t enter personal information on unfamiliar websites.

• When deployed, put an Active Duty Alert on your credit reports. This will minimize the risk of identity theft

For more tips you can trust, visit www.bbb.org or call 509-455-4200.

Erin T Dodge, BBB Editor

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