LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- On a day dedicated to honoring and thanking those who served our country, Attorney General Andy Beshear warned Kentuckians of scams targeting the state's veterans.
According to an AARP study, 78% of veterans have reported being targets of scams in the last five years. Veterans are more likely to be targeted than non-veterans, the report shows.
“As we reach out to thank the veterans in our lives let’s take time to warn them, especially our senior veterans, of common military scams and help reverse the high rates of veterans and their families falling victim to con artists looking to prey upon them because of their service to our county." Beshear's notice read.
The AG's Office listed three of the most common scams that target vets and tips to avoid them:
Scam: Con artists claim to be veterans or service members collecting charitable donations to support other veterans and veteran causes.
Tip: Verify all charities before making a donation and never send cash, wire money, pay in gift cards or use other untraceable methods of payment. Donors not familiar with a charitable organization can verify official organizations on CharityNavigator.org. Visit the attorney General's website to find additional research tools.
Military Discounts and Free Programs
Scam: Discounts on taxes, rent, prescription drugs and even medical bills. Scammers target veterans claiming to offer military discounts or access to free goods and services through special government programs. These programs are typically a disguise for a scam.
Tip: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many legitimate organizations do offer genuine discounts for veterans, but research offers online and with the Better Business Bureau to ensure they are legitimate. Never provide sensitive personal or financial information in exchange for a "discount."
U.S. Soldier Impersonation
Scam: A variety of veteran-specific scams appear as someone pretending to be a U.S. soldier and claiming they need financial help or are looking to sell goods and services for a cheap price. The scammers go as far as to open fake social media accounts and use stolen names and photos of actual U.S. soldiers.
Tip: Soldiers and their families are encouraged to actively search social media sites to see if a scammer is using their name and information. Soldiers should also conduct a Google image search of their social media profile pictures. If a soldier or a family member is being impersonated, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command offers a flyer that provides resources to help stop fake profiles
The Better Business Bureau also wants to remind veterans to be on the look out for scammers. Its research showed that other common schemes are employment scams, home improvement scams and online purchase scams.
Because military members are usually on the move from town to town and base to base, it's easy for them to become targets.
"There's certain scams that hit the military extra hard because of how life is for those folks," said Bruce Gadansky, chief operating officer of the BBB.
Calling the Better Business Bureau to vet companies and individuals is a good way to prevent these scams, Gadansky said. He added an important message to scammers trying to take advantage of veterans:
"I hope you get caught and spend some time in jail," he said. "That's exactly what I'd tell them. Any way i could help get you in jail, I would do it."
If you've been the target of a scam, the Attorney General's Office wants you to call and report that immediately.
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