On November 11, we take time to honor the veterans who have served to protect us. This holiday is especially important in Texas, the state with the second highest number of veterans according to a report released by the governor’s office in 2016. BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust operates Military Line, a program specifically designed to help active service members, veterans and their families navigate the challenges unique to them, particularly as they return from duty and adjust to civilian life.
Studies conducted by Better Business Bureau have found veterans, active service members and their families are more likely to be targeted by scammers. Additionally, military consumers who fell victim to scams lost a median dollar amount of $200 in 2018, which was 32% higher than the $152 lost by civilian consumers.
Recently, BBB Scam Tracker has seen an increase in reports regarding government impostor scams that target veterans and military families. Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas encourages you to use these tips to watch for government impostor scams:
· Look for official documentation. Know that if the government needs to reach you, it will send you official documents via mail. If someone claiming to be from the government calls with a free grant opportunity, or reaches out through social media or email, it is most likely a scam.
· Keep your personal information safe. You should never give personal or sensitive information (such as your banking information, full name, address, Social Security number, etc.) to someone who contacts you unsolicited, even if they claim to be with a government agency.
· Never send untraceable money. Scammers like to ask for payments in gift cards or wire transfer, because they’re untraceable and can’t be undone. A legitimate government representative will never ask you for money in either of those forms.
· Ask for verification. Spoofing official documents and phone numbers is becoming easier for scam artists, so don’t immediately trust a badge. If you’re feeling unsure, disengage and directly contact the agency they claim to be with to verify their identity.
· Report fraud. Help fight fraud against veterans and military consumers by reporting any incidents you experience to BBB Scam Tracker.
ABOUT BBB®: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 173 million times for BBB Business Profiles on nearly 5.4 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at bbb.org. The Council of Better Business Bureaus is the umbrella organization for the local, independent BBBs in the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB serving the Heart of Texas, which serves 105 counties and has offices in Austin, Bryan, Corpus Christi, Fort Worth, Midland, San Antonio and Waco.