Survey finds military vets are more likely to be scam victims that non-veterans

AARP photo

Virtually all of us are targets of scammers who try to trick us with e-mails or phone calls.

But according to a new survey by the AARP Fraud Watch Network, you're twice as likely to fall victim to scams if you're a military veteran.

In a nationwide campaign with the United States Postal Inspection Service, AARP says scammers use the pretense of a military bond to trick veterans out of hundreds of thousands of dollars every year.

Operation Protect Veterans aims to help military vets fight back, and avoid being tricked.

"The scam artists will tailor their message to target these veterans, and use their own military affiliation, which is faked, to gain the credibility of the veterans." explained AARP's Fraud Watch Network's Amy Nofziger.

The AARP survey found 16 percent of the U. S. veterans who responded said they'd lost money to fraudsters, compared to 8 percent of non-veterans.

Army vet Bill Griffith says he's gotten the scam phone calls. He never takes the bait, but he understands the ruse. Scammers know that veterans have a tender heart for helping other vets in need, and supporting vet-related causes.

"There's a kind of a band of brotherhood among veterans," said Griffith. "We want to look out for each other, so we do feel a bond."

Tactics used to scam veterans include solicitations for vet-related charitable donations, posing as Veterans Administration employees to get personal information, offering pension and benefit buyouts (a scam), recruiting veterans for employment that doesn't exist, pushing uncsrupulus education loans under the G.I. bill, and promoting special military discounts that don't exist.

The AARP/USPIS collaboration includes the distribution of special "Operation Protect Veterans" brochures to all post offices across the country, as well as nationwide veteran scam alerts through email, mass mail, social media, and the new AARP Protect Veterans website.

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