The top five scams targeting veterans and how to protect against them

Market trading boards are seen at the Australian Securities Exchange in Sydney, Friday, February 9, 2018. ( AAP Image/Ben Rushton) NO ARCHIVING

We honor the men and women who have served this country in our armed forces on Veterans Day. They have protected us, there are ways to protect them from scams that target them specifically.

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According to a recent AARP survey, veterans are twice as likely to fall victim to scammers as the population at large.

The U.S. Postal Inspection Service and its Operation Protect Veterans campaign want all veterans to be aware of these top five scams.

What can veterans do to protect themselves? Operation Protect Veterans recommends the following:

  • Consider blocking Social Security benefits from scammers looking for account details online. Go to www.socialsecurity.gov/blockaccess.
     
  • Check out any offer or solicitation with a trusted family member, friend or your local veteran’s affairs office before acting.
     
  • Verify any charity asking for money before sending it. There are several online services veterans can use, such as Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar.
     
  • Don’t give any personal information over the phone. This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers and Social Security number.
     
  • Never be pressured to act immediately. Just say “no,” and hang up.
     
  • Contact your telephone service provider, and ask them what kind of services they offer to help you block unwanted calls.
     
  • Register your telephone number with the National Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov, and get an answering machine and caller ID display. If you don’t recognize the person leaving a message, don’t pick up the phone!
     
  • Don’t feel ashamed if you think you may have been victimized. Shame is a scammer’s best friend. Report it by contacting your local police or AARP ([email protected] or 877-908-3360).

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For more information on scams targeting veterans and how to defend against them, visit www.operationprotectveterans.com.

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