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Veterans Targeted For Phone Scams Around Memorial Day, Finance Experts Warn

Steven Lilley
flickr Creative Commons

Financial experts are warning veterans this Memorial Day weekend to look out for phone calls and emails from scammers. 


Last year, nearly 100,000 veterans reported that they were the target of scamming attempts, and more than half of those were related to either identity theft or credit card fraud.

The scams can come in the form of emails, phone calls and advertisements.

Gary Swim, a personal finance and retirement expert in Wichita, says scammers tend to present themselves as organizations offering low-interest credit cards and loans. They might also advertise military discounts for rental properties or cars. 

“From my experience, it’s mainly some of the newer [veterans], the younger guys who have come back," Swim says. "They’re trying to transition back into the civil life, and it’s hard to adapt to.”

Below are tips from Swim about how to avoid being scammed:

Do your research 

  • Get as much information as you can about a business before you pay
  • There are a number of consumer groups where you can check out a company’s reputation or report fraud - like The Better Business Bureau and The National Consumers League

Keep your guard up 

  • Even if the person on the other end of the line sounds nice and isn’t too aggressive, scammers know how to build friendships over the phone
  • Resist the pressure to make a decision on the spot

Avoid wire transfers 

  • Never wire transfer money to someone you don’t know. Money sent by wire transfer is practically impossible to track
  • Pay by credit card whenever possible, since you can dispute charges much easier

Active duty alert 

  • When deployed, put an “Active Duty Alert” on your credit reports by contacting any of the three credit reporting agencies. Doing so will help to minimize risk of identity theft because it requires lenders to verify your identity before approving new credit lines and removes your name from pre-approved credit offers for two years.