Military Consumer Protection Month, recognized every July since 2013, is an opportunity for consumer awareness, enforcement and advocacy groups, such as Better Business Bureau and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), to focus on the impact of fraudulent or malicious business practices on the military community. Despite the sacrifices members of the U.S. armed forces and their families make each day, the military community is a constant target for scammers and businesses employing unethical practices.
According to the FTC, the military community (active-duty service members, veterans, their families and reservists) has lost more than $566 million to fraud from 2017-present, with the majority, $60.8 million, to government impostor scams. The FTC remains dedicated to protecting America’s service members through continuous enforcement of reported fraudulent activity and an ongoing educational campaign tailored for the military community. More information about the FTC’s military consumer protection program can be found at MilitaryConsumer.gov.
A few common scams that target military members include:
Since January 2021, veterans, active-duty service members and their families residing in Texas have reported more than $80,000 of losses to various scams across the state, according to BBB Scam Tracker. To combat scams targeting the military community, BBB’s Military Line provides resources for active-duty service members, veterans and their families to assist the military community navigate an ever-changing and often complex marketplace.
“As a liaison between businesses and consumers, BBB is uniquely positioned to provide information, guidance and consumer resources to the military community,” said Heather Massey, vice president of communications for Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas. “BBB regional directors work with military bases around Texas to conduct training workshops specifically tailored for military consumer protection. These workshops focus on scams that target the military community, tips for transitioning service members and information about national BBB programs, such as BBB Auto Line, that the military community can use when changing duty stations.”
BBB Forth Worth Regional Director Amy Rasor conducts training seminars for service members stationed at Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth multiple times a year focused on scams that target the military community.
“One of the greatest defenses against becoming a victim of a scam is being able to identify the warning signs,” said Rasor. “Unfortunately, the stigma associated with being a victim of a scam, especially in the military, sometimes prevents service members from sharing their experiences with one another, which makes identifying those warning signs much more difficult. After sharing a story about a scam that targeted a military member, most participants are able to recognize and share their own experiences and, by doing so, remove that stigma. Once the conversation gets going, it is amazing the type of scams that this community is constantly exposed to including romance, education or employment scams.”
ABOUT BBB: For more than 100 years, the Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2020, people turned to BBB more than 220 million times for BBB Business Profiles on 6.2 million businesses and Charity Reports on 11,000 charities, all available for free at BBB.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico.