BEND, OR -- While most people honor veterans this weekend for their service, criminals focus attention on vets and their families for a different reason. "Unfortunately veterans and active-service military members are one of the most highly targeted groups by scammers," says Stephen Mayer, with the Oregon Better Business Bureau.
Mayer tells KBND News, "There’s many scams that scammers use to try to rip off veterans. One is, they’ll call you and say, ‘Hey, we’ve got to update your military file.’ They claim to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs and really what they’re doing is just phishing. They’re hoping you’ll give them you address, your Social Security number, you know, as much information as they can get."
He says the best scams have some truth to them; one claims that the victim qualifies for a lower VA mortgage rate, "They’ll call and say, ‘Hey, interest rates are incredibly low right now. We’d like to guarantee you a new interest rate. We want to refinance that loan for you.’ And, the second you hear the word ‘guarantee,’ that is a huge red flag.”
Criminals even pose as staff from the Veterans Choice program that helps connect rural vets with medical services, "Scammers have really exploited human error, and they’ve set up these fake telephone numbers that mimics the phone number used by this real program – the Veterans Choice Program. So, you think you’re getting a call from a legitimate organization, when in fact, you’re not. You’ve got to be really cautious with caller ID, these days." And, Mayer says false charities often try to take advantage of people’s emotions, around Veterans Day. He suggests checking Give.org
to make sure a nonprofit is legit before making a donation.
To hear our full conversation with Stephen Mayer from the BBB, visit our Podcast Page or click HERE.