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Operation Protect Veterans
They Protected Us. NOW IT'S OUR TURN

Their time on the battlefield is over. Now it's our turn to protect our veterans from scams. Our veterans deserve a lot of things. Praise. Honor. Security. Respect.

Picture of Veterans

Here's what they don't deserve: attempts to take advantage of their service. Yet every day, scammers attempt to defraud our veterans of their hard-earned benefits, steal their identity, take their life savings, and worse.

According to a recent AARP survey, veterans are twice as likely to fall victim to scammers as the population at large. Veterans reported they are targeted by scams directly related to their military service or the veterans’ benefits they receive.

Why?

For starters, veterans implicitly trust fellow members of the military, making them vulnerable to imposters. Veterans also have a PTSD rate more than double the general public's, which can make it more difficult for them to recognize and combat the emotional manipulation used by scam artists.

That’s why the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and AARP have joined forces to create Operation Protect Veterans. This page contains valuable information and resources veterans, their loved ones, and their friends can use to help protect against the scammers.

Together, we can fight back and take one small step to repay our veterans for the service they've given and the sacrifices they've made.



Know the Enemy - Current Scams / Dont's and Do's / Report a Scam / Resource Center


Know the Enemy - Current Scams:
Below are some of the current scams specifically targeting veterans:

  • VA Loan Scams: Offers to refinance VA loans at extremely low rates.

  • Benefits Buyout Offer: Scammers take advantage of veterans in need by offering a quick upfront buyout - usually at a fraction of the value - of future disability or pension payments.

  • Fake Charitable Giving Request: Scammers make fraudulent claims about charitable giving benefits veterans of wounded service members.

  • Fraudulent Records Offer: Scammers try to charge Veterans a fee to access military records or government forms—information that is actually available for free through the National Archives (for military records) and VA.gov or local VA offices (for forms).

  • VA Phishing Scam: Scammers posing as VA employees

  • Bogus Employment Scam: Scammers post fake job descriptions to collect personal information from a veteran’s job application, or they charge an employment fee.

  • Update Your File Scam: An imposter, claiming to be from a government agency attempts to get a veteran's personal information to "update their file" so they can maintain their benefits.

  • "Secret" Veteran Benefits Scam: Veterans are told they qualify for "secret" government programs or benefits that offer thousands of dollars - but first, they attempt to collect personal information or a fee.

  • Pension Poaching Scam: Scammers often offer veterans lump sum payments up front, in exchange for signing over all their future monthly benefit checks.
  • Aid and Attendance Scam: Veterans (or their family members) receive an offer to move their assets into a living trust so that they can qualify for financial assisted-living benefits.

  • Veterans Choice Program Scam: Scammers have set up a phone number nearly identical to the number veterans dial to find out if they are eligible to use approved health care providers outside of the VA system. Veterans call the fake number and a message prompts them to leave their credit card information in return for a rebate. They debit your account, and the vet gets nothing in return. Make sure to dial the correct number for the VCP: 866-606-8198.

  • GI Bill Education Marketing Scam: Veterans seeking to take advantage of the GI Bill for college courses may be targets of deceptive marketing tactics that provide false information and encourage them to attend expensive for-profit educational institutions. The VA offers a comparison tool to help you locate a school and determine your benefits. Visit www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill.

  • Special Deals for Veterans Scam: Scammers offer special discounts for veterans on a range of products, like loans and car purchases. Often, the products aren't discounted at all, or they don't actually exist. Check out offers carefully, and never wire money to someone you don't know.

  • Rental Scam: A scammer posts a fake rental property on a classified ad website offering discounts for active duty military and veterans. You just need to wire transfer a security deposit to the landlord. Only, there is no rental property, and you just lost your security deposit.

  • General Scams: Veterans can also be victims of scams not specifically targeting them for their service. These include mail fraud, mail fraud, and more.


Don't's and Do's

    DON’T:

  • Give any personal information over the phone. This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers and your Social Security number.

  • Send/wire money or gift cards to retrieve a prize. If the prize is legitimate, you won’t have to pay one cent to get it.

  • Be pressured to act immediately. If you are dealing with a legitimate outfit, they won’t try to pressure you to act before having a chance to check it out and think about it. If they do, just say “no” and hang up.

  • Feel ashamed if you think you may have been victimized. Shame is a scammer’s best friend. Remember—you aren’t the bad person here. The scammer is. And if you come forward and report what happened, you’ll be helping other veterans like you from becoming victims.


  • DO:

  • Register your telephone number with the National Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov.

  • Check out the offer with a trusted family member, friend or your local veteran’s affairs office before acting.

  • Get an answering machine and caller ID display. Most large electronics retailers sell them. Then, let the machine answer the phone for you. If you don’t recognize the person leaving a message, don’t pick up the phone!

  • Contact your telephone service provider and ask them what kind of services they offer to help you block unwanted calls.

  • Check out any charitable donation request before sending money. A good resource for this is www.charitynavigator.org

  • Report if you believe you have been the victim of a scam. Contact your local police or AARP (protectveterans@aarp.org or 877-908-3360).

  • Get credible information on how to qualify for veterans' benefits by contacting your state veterans' affairs agency. Visit www.nasdva.us, and click on "Links."

Report a Scam
Fear and embarrassment are two of a scammer’s greatest weapons. If you believe you or a loved one has been the victim of a scam, DON’T BE ASHAMED! Help yourself and others by reporting it immediately.

☎  877-908-3360

Or, click here to report a scam online.

Picture of Veterans

Resource Center
Below are links to resources you, a friend, or a loved one can use to prevent or mitigate the damage caused by scammers:

Operation Protect Veterans Downloadable Brochure (.pdf)
AARP Fraud Watchdog Alert Handbook (.pdf)
National Do Not Call Registry
Charity Navigator
BBB Wise Giving Alliance
FTC Scam Alerts
AARP Report: Under Fire: Military Veterans and Consumer Fraud
FTC Complaint Assistant
Internet Crime Complaint Center

 

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