Emily Gaines, Class of 2018, is a Public Relations Coordinator for the Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas.
This week, we had the opportunity to honor those who risked their lives to protect our freedoms. There are plenty of struggles veterans can face as they return from combat back to school, work and other aspects of civilian life. Resources like BBB Military Line and Student Veteran Support Centers exist to make that transition easier.
These resources are especially important because studies show that veterans, as well as active service members and their families, face unique challenges that lead to higher financial losses when confronted with scams. In 2018, the average consumer lost $152 when they fell victim to a scam, whereas a military consumer’s average loss was $200 (32% higher).
Recently, BBB Scam Tracker has received reports of an increase in government impostor scams targeting veterans and military families. As we observe Veterans Day and continue to support the veterans in our communities, Better Business Bureau serving the Heart of Texas offers tips to spot and avoid government impostor scams that could be targeting the veterans in your life and on your campus:month:month:
Look for official documentation. Know that if the government needs to reach you, it will send you official documents via mail. If someone claiming to be from the government calls with a free grant opportunity, or reaches out through social media or email, it is most likely a scam.
Keep your personal information safe. You should never give personal or sensitive information (such as your banking information, full name, address, Social Security number, etc.) to someone who contacts you unsolicited, even if they claim to be with a government agency.
Never send untraceable money. Scammers like to ask for payments in gift cards or wire transfer, because they’re untraceable and can’t be undone. A legitimate government representative will never ask you for money in either of those forms.
Ask for verification. Spoofing official documents and phone numbers is becoming easier for scam artists, so don’t immediately trust a badge. If you’re feeling unsure, disengage and directly contact the agency they claim to be with to verify their identity.
Report fraud. Help fight fraud against veterans and military consumers by reporting any incidents you experience to BBB Scam Tracker.
To learn more, visit us at bbb.org, and thank you to our veterans from BBB serving the Heart of Texas.