According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are nearly 330,000 veterans in Kentucky who could be the target of scams.
The scams include calls and emails offering bogus military discounts and soliciting personal military information. Scammers are pretending to be a deploying solider or claim to be a representative from a bogus military charity.
“We owe an incredible debt to those who have fought to defend our freedoms,” Beshear said. “As we prepare to honor those who have served our country on Veterans Day, I want to warn our veterans and military families to be cautious of scammers who do the inconceivable – attempt to defraud them and take advantage of their sacrifice and service.”
Beshear said AARP has issued a nationwide alert to help veterans identify the top scams targeting veterans and military families.
- Veterans Affairs Impostor Scam – By phone or email, a scammer may claim he or she is from the Department of Veterans Affairs and ask to confirm or update personal military information.
- Deployment Scam – Con artists may pretend to be a deploying service member who places an online classified ad looking to sell an expensive item right away at a steep discount. The scammer will ask for upfront payment with gift cards or wire transfer and never provide the item.
- Benefits Buyout Scam – Scammers may target veterans in need of money and offer to pay them cash in exchange for their future disability or pension payments. The cash offered is usually only a small part of the value of the disability or pension benefit.
- Military Discounted Rent Scam – Fake online real estate classified ads may target veterans by promising military discounted rent. The scammer then takes a veteran’s money through a wire transfer as a security deposit to the “landlord.”
- Fake Military Charity Scams – Scammers often try to use what sounds like legitimate charities and reference armed forces, veterans or military families to try and swindle Kentuckians.
- Be suspicious when asked to pay with gift cards or by wire transfer. These payment methods are often used by scammers because they are difficult to track and nearly impossible to recover.
- The Department of Veterans Affairs will never call to update personal financial information over the phone.
- Donors who are not familiar with a charitable organization and how they use their money can verify what percentage of their income goes to the charity’s purpose on CharityNavigator.org. Additional research tools and resources can be found on the Attorney General’s website.
- Veterans and their families should only work with VA-accredited representatives regarding their benefits. To find a VA-accredited representative, visit http://www.va.gov/ogc/apps/accreditation/index.asp.
Kentuckians are urged to stay up to date on new and trending scams by signing up for Scam Alerts. To enroll text the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311), or enroll online at ag.ky.gov/scams and select text message or email alert.
In October, Beshear announced Kentucky service members and their families targeted by retailer USA Discounters will share nearly $1 million in restitution from a multistate settlement to resolve claims the company preyed on service members with deceptive trade practices.