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Holiday Scams Target Military, Veterans, Families, Supporters

Sadly, Memorial Day has become a key opportunity for scammers to target those who are serving or have served their nation, especially elderly veterans

Connecticut BBB Urges Caution to Avoid Being Cheated

Memorial Day is a time to honor those who serve and remember those who have died in war.  But sadly, it has also become a key opportunity for scammers to target those who are serving or have served their nation, especially elderly veterans.  BBB urges consumers, donors, veterans and their families to be aware of scammers who feed off the military.

BBB Military Line, the military arm of the Better Business Bureau, provides free resources, such as financial literacy information, access to BBB services and scam alerts, and complaint and dispute resolution for all branches of the U.S. military. BBB warns of the following scams that are directed at service members:

High priced military loans - Advertisements for loans that promise a guarantee, instant approval or no credit check will often come with hidden fees and extremely high interest rates. Remember that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before you apply and loans that require an upfront fee are likely a scam.

Veterans’ benefits buyout plans - This buyout plan will offer a cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments. The cash amount is only about 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to. These buyout plans can be structured in several different ways, so research thoroughly before signing anything over.

Fake rental properties - Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives. Service members will have to pay a fee via wire transfer for security payments or a key to the property – in the end they will receive nothing.

Phony jury duty summons - A caller clams to work for the local court system and states that the service member did not show up for jury duty and now has a warrant out for their arrest. When the victim says they never got a summons, the caller will ask for a credit card number or Social Security number to clear up the matter.

Misleading car sales – Websites posting classified ads will offer false discounts for military personnel or claim to be from soldiers who need to sell their vehicle fast since they have been deployed. Upfront fees will be required via wire transfer, or the vehicle will have problems after purchase.

Expensive life insurance policies – Members of the military are often the targets of high pressured sales pitches that offer unnecessary, expensive life insurance policies. Solicitors may make false statements regarding the benefits that these policies offer.

BBB recommends the following tips to avoid scams:

-Do your research. Get as much information as you can about a business or charity before you pay. Check out a business’ BBB Business Review at www.ct.bbb.org or a charity’s Charity Report at www.give.org.

-Don’t wire transfer money to anyone you don’t know. Money sent via wire transfer is practically impossible to track. Pay by credit card whenever possible, since you can dispute charges easily.

-Protect your computer. Don’t click on links within unsolicited emails. Don’t enter personal information on unfamiliar websites. Make sure that you have updated anti-virus software installed and use a firewall at all times.

-Put an Active Duty alert on your credit reports when deployed. Doing so will minimize the risk of identity theft because creditors and businesses cannot issue or grant credit until verifying identity

For more information, visit www.bbb.org/us/military-line.

-Submitted by Howard Schwartz, Executive Communications Director, Connecticut Better Business Bureau

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Paul Devlin May 24, 2013 at 04:38 PM
Never forget Stamford's Brian Bill
Karen Amendola May 24, 2013 at 05:02 PM
I am so thankful for our veterans. Thank you for informing the public of these despicable scams!
Carol Grenier May 25, 2013 at 09:00 AM
Shame on these amoral predators!
tlkensington May 26, 2013 at 07:50 PM
The biggest scam of all is our military. They trick young men and women to join. Then they get treated like crap when they are out. God bless 'Merica.
Thomas Johnson May 28, 2013 at 02:09 PM
NO, he's right as rain. These kids are being tricked, lied to and yes, killed and maimed to further the greedy interests of the KORPORATE STATES OF AMERIKA. Most go into the military with patriotic stars in their eyes only to realize after it's too late that it ain't "as advertised". Over half the federal budget goes to the military/industrial complex to twist arms and bribe weaker governments to dance to the tune of our war profiteers and other powerful greed-heads. Now they're beating the drum on North Korea and will probably take them out as China holds too big of a financial interest in the good ol' USofA to side with their former ally. By design? Probably. Folks like Mr Cerani would do well to pull their collective lips off of the jackboots of the ruling class and figure out a way to take back America from those who would send us down the tubes for their own selfish ends...
Connecticut Better Business Bureau News May 28, 2013 at 02:14 PM
Free speech is alive and well, but the point of this posting was to say that not only veterans, but their families and any of us can become victims of criminals, online, over the phone and at our front doors. We hope that some of the caveats here will be of use to readers. Best, Howard Schwartz
Thomas Johnson May 28, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Dear Mr Cerani, I'm not an "anti-war activist, just anti-ILLEGAL war. They're not all justified you know. Only people that are ignorant swallow all the swill force-fed by your wonderful government. If the object of the military adventures in the last dozen or so years was to "protect us" from those evil Islamic terrorists, why were the armed forces sent to Iraq and Afghanistan instead of Saudi Arabia where almost ALL of the 9/11 hijackers hailed from? The arrogant US government was the direct causation of 9/11. They may as well have sent an engraved invitation to the hijackers! You've been drinking the Kool-Aid again Mr Cerani. Snap out of it and realize that you've been duped by your government. Don't be another government robot spouting jingo-isms just because you served in the military. There have been a few "good" wars but most have been un-justified. Profits before people you know...
Thomas Johnson May 28, 2013 at 07:54 PM
If this is truly your last response all I can say is "thank goodness for small favors"! You don't have anything worthwhile to offer anyway, just a bunch of puerile name calling like the grown-up schoolyard bully you expose yourself as. You suppose that anyone who doesn't spout jingoistic nonsense like yourself couldn't have served in the military. News flash! Some people actually use their intellect and think issues through before making ignorant pronouncements such as you have done here. Mindsets like yours Mr. Cerani, are a major contributor to the pathetic status my country finds itself in. The leaders are the reason why. Love them if you wish. I say, Sic semper evello mortem Tyrannis...
J D C May 29, 2013 at 01:03 PM
Blah, blah blah is all I hear. If you know they are targeting our kids that I KNOW have endured enough, then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! No, we get this article telling us about how they are scamming them. Isnt it a problem that this can happen so easily in the first place? They put their lives on the line for the citizens, can someone PLEASE protect them when they get back to the "safety" of their home land.

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