By CAROL KANDO-PINEDA
As we approach Veterans Day, we thank our veterans for their service and sacrifice. But not everyone has a vet’s best interests in mind. Whether you left the service decades ago or you’re planning your transition to civilian life, scammers will try to get you to send money or share personal information. Scammers also want to get their hands on the valuable benefits you earned through military service.
What are some ways to know you’re dealing with a scammer?
First know how scammers operate. Imposter scams come in many varieties but they work the same way: scammers call, text, email, or reach out over social media and pretend to be someone you trust to convince you to send them money.
Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency and say you need to pay a fine. Or they may pose as an online love interest who needs you to send money for an expensive medical procedure. The scammer may offer you a job, too, but say you need to pay a fee before you get hired. Scammers may claim to have some affinity with the military to gain your trust so you won’t dig too deep into what they’re saying.
Second, know how scammers ask you to pay. No matter what the story is, only scammers will insist that the only way you can pay is by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app, or a wire transfer service. These methods make it almost impossible to get your money back, which is why scammers insist you pay that way. Stop. Don’t pay.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll highlight some of the ways scammers try to get at your veterans benefits — and ways you can spot and avoid those scams.
One way to recognize Veterans Day is to share the advice about avoiding scams and encourage the veterans you know to sign up for the latest updates to stay a step ahead of scammers.