Maine’s 126,842 military veterans and active-duty service members are at risk of being targeted by scammers. According to a new AARP report, veterans, military and their families are nearly 40 percent more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population. Additionally, four out of five military/veteran adults were targeted by scams directly related to their military service or the benefits they receive.
Scammers often use military jargon and specific government guidelines to craft an effective pitch to steal money from military members and veterans. One in three military/veteran adults reported losing money to these types of service-related scams.
To make scams easier to spot, AARP’s Fraud Watch Network recommends signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry and using a call-blocking service. Additional measures include: using strong and unique passwords for each online account; using two-factor authentication when available; and placing a free security freeze on credit reports at each of the three major credit bureaus. Also, veterans never have to pay for their service records or earned benefits — if told otherwise, it’s a scam.
There are resources out there to help: Operation Protect Veterans — a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service — helps Maine’s veterans, service members and their families to protect against fraud. The Fraud Watch Network also offers biweekly fraud alerts and a free helpline (877-908-3360) through which veterans, military and the public can report suspected scams.
AARP Maine Fraud Watch Volunteer