By Julie Provost
Everyone knows that military members receive a regular paycheck from the government. Anyone can easily find out exactly how much a service member gets paid. Drive by any military post and you are going to find a lot of places advertising good “deals” and “discounts.” Why? Because these companies know that military families have money to spend and the guarantee of a paycheck every two weeks.
Unfortunately, not everyone is honest and there are plenty of folks looking to make an easy buck off of military families. Here are six scams to watch out for. . .
1. The Deployment Racket
The Scam:The scammer calls a family member of someone in the military. They say that the service member is on their way home from overseas but that they lost their wallet and their ID card. The caller says the service member needs money to get home and without the money, the service member will be stuck in another country.
The Truth: This would never happen. Service members do not pay to come back from a deployment. If they did lose their ID or wallet, the military would still be responsible for getting them home. The military does not call family members asking for money to help do so.
2. The Injury Scheme
The Scam: The scammer calls a military family and says their service member has been injured. The caller asks for personal information and/or money.
The Truth: Again, if your service member is injured, the military will not ask for money and you will be notified officially. The scammer is hoping that you will be so emotional you won’t think about their request and will give them the information anyway.
3. The Fake Charity Con
The Scam: Fake charities asking for money for veterans and military members. People give to these “charities” and assume their money is going to help others when it is not.
The Truth: The caller may be associated with a true charity that is doing a lot of good work for the military community or they could be trying to scam you. Find out for sure before you give them any of your money. You can use Charity Navigator to find out about a charity as well as how much money the charity is bringing in.
4. The Catfishing Scam
The Scam: Someone pretends to be a deployed service member. Using that persona, they befriend or even date someone online and eventually ask for money. They say that the military is not feeding them and they need money for food or other supplies.
The Truth: The military will not let a service member go without food, even if that just means MREs.
5. The VA Hoax
The Scam: A scammer calls or sends emails acting as the Department of Veterans Affairs. They are fishing for information like Social Security or bank account numbers.
The Truth: The VA will not ask you for sensitive information over the phone or in an email. You should also make sure that when you are calling the VA you have the correct number. There are people who have taken similar numbers that military veterans might accidentally call and have turned those into a way of scamming people out of their money or information.
6. The Loan Rip-Off
The Scam: The scammer tries to sell cars they don’t own or get someone to apply for loans.
The Truth: Be smart and critical when it comes to big purchases and loans. If you sign a loan, make sure the company is legitimate. If you are going to buy a car, make sure you do so from a reputable place and that you have done your research. Avoid loans with extremely high interest rates.