BBB: Scammers target veterans, their families

BBB: Scammers target veterans, their families

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Arizona warns consumers, veterans, active military and their families to be aware of potential scams around Veterans Day.

BBB officials said most scammers target elderly veterans.

"It is unconscionable that one of the most dedicated and selfless segments of our population would be targeted by unscrupulous businesses, but they are," Director of the BBB Military Line Brenda Linnington stated in a news release. "At BBB, we believe our military consumers deserve the level of respect and support commensurate with the effort they make every day on behalf of the rest of us."

BBB Military Line provides free financial literacy and consumer protection services to the military community, as well as information on the latest scams, schemes and ID theft tactics.

The following are some scams to watch out for:

-Posing as the Veterans Administration and contacting vets to say they need to update their credit card, bank or other financial records with the VA;

-Charging veterans for services they could get for free or less expensively elsewhere, such as military records;

-Fraudulent investment schemes that convince veterans to transfer their assets into an irrevocable trust;

-Offering "instant approval" military loans ("no credit check," "all ranks approved") that can have high interest rates and hidden fees;

-Advertising housing online with military discounts and incentives, and then bilking service personnel out of the security deposit;

-Trying to sell things such as security systems to spouses of deployed military personnel by saying the service member ordered it to protect his or her family;

-Selling stolen vehicles at low prices by claiming to be soldiers who need to sell fast because they've been deployed;

-Posing as government contractors recruiting veterans and then asking for a copy of the job applicants' passport (which contains a lot of personal information);

-Posing on online dating services as a lonely service member in a remote part of Iraq or Afghanistan, and then asking for money to be wired to a third party for some emergency.

Another questionable charity appeal includes callers who claim they are raising money for military organizations.

"Telephone solicitors will call and say they are with a group that is helping veterans, service members or their families," BBB President Kim States said. "As with all charity appeals, before you donate, check out the organization with the BBB to verify that the charity meets BBB charity standards."

BBB officials remind service members, veterans and all consumers to never give personal identification information, such as a social security number, bank account, military identification or credit card numbers to anyone by phone or e-mail. Also, be wary of any solicitations that involve purchasing something or transferring money.

Consumers can check out businesses and charities for free at www.tucson.bbb.org <http://www.tucson.bbb.org> . Military personnel and veterans who need assistance should contact the United Service Organizations (www.uso.org <http://www.uso.org> ), their state office of veterans' affairs, or the Veterans' Administration.

Copyright 2013 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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