A recent AARP survey finds that veterans can be victimized by scams twice as often as the rest of the public. Approximately 16% of United States veterans have lost money, compared with 8% of the rest of the population, in the last five years.
Veterans may be more willing to trust someone who served in the military, so many fraudsters pretend to be veterans themselves. And veterans may be less likely to ask questions about donating money to a charity that claims to help veterans and service members.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network and the United States Postal Inspection Service have launched Operation Protect Veterans, which is a national campaign to warn the military about scams. They will use ads, social media, email messages, and a website to get the word out. The website is available at: www.aarp.org/ProtectVeterans.
Research also indicates that veterans who end up as victims of scams may have faced significant financial losses or suffered a personal injury.
If anyone offers you advice on how to claim veterans benefits, check with your state veterans’ affairs agency first. You can also visit the National Association of State Directors of Veterans Affairs at http://www.nasdva.us.