It is a sad commentary on life today that veterans who have served their country valiantly are particularly targeted by scammers. According to the United States Postal Service (USPS) 78% of retired military men and women have been targeted by scammers and research from AARP indicates that veterans are twice as likely to fall for a scam than the general public. Consequently, the USPS and AARP have joined together to create Operation Protect Veterans, a program to help inform veterans of the many scams that threaten them.
Among the common veteran related scams are VA loan scams where a scammer posing as a VA employee contacts the veteran offering to help refinance a VA loan at low rates, but asks for payment for costs as a condition of the refinance. Veterans are also contacted by scammers posing as government officials who ask for personal information that they say is necessary to update the veteran’s file in order for the veteran to continue to receive benefits. In this case, the scammer is seeking information used to make the veteran a victim of identity theft. Veterans are also contacted from phony government officials telling them that they qualify for a secret government program that will pay them thousands of dollars. Again, however the scammer first demands a fee or personal information in order to process the application and the veteran loses money or has his identity stolen or both as a result of complying with the scammer’s request.
Trust me, you can’t trust anyone. As I have warned you many times, whenever you get a phone call, a text message or an email from someone, you can never be sure who is really contacting you. Using “spoofing” a scammer can manipulate your Caller ID so a phone call may appear to come from a legitimate sources such as the VA, but in fact is coming from a scammer. Good advice to everyone is to never provide personal information or pay anything in response to an email, text message or phone call unless you have absolutely confirmed that the communication is legitimate. For information about veterans’ programs the best place to get information is the Veterans Administration (VA). Here is a link to the VA website where you can also find the phone numbers to use to get answers about various programs and confirm that you have been contacted by a scammer. https://www.va.gov/contact-us/
For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.” Scamicide has been cited by the New York Times as one of three top sources for information about Coronavirus related scams.
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