In honor of National Veterans and Military Families Month and Veterans Day, the American Bankers Association Foundation, the Association of Military Banks of America (AMBA) and Better Business Bureau Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute) have joined forces to educate veterans, active duty service members and their families on financial scams targeting the military. A new infographic released today highlights findings from the Military Consumers & Marketplace Trust report, which notes that military consumers lost 68 percent more money to debt relief and credit repair scams last year compared to all consumers and 14 percent more on home improvement project scams.
Additionally, military consumers report losing twice as much when victims of employment scams.
“As a member of the military, you are presented with unique challenges – deployments, relocations and eventually, a transition to civilian life and a new career,” said Corey Carlisle, executive director, ABA Foundation. “It can be difficult to navigate major financial decisions in the midst of constant change. That’s why it’s important to educate our service members on best practices as well as red flags to look out for when managing their personal finances.”
“It’s hard to believe anyone would want to take advantage of the troops, but our research shows that scammers are a real threat to our men and women in uniform,” said Melissa Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute. “By helping to educate military personnel on those risks, we can let them focus on their primary mission of defending the nation without having to worry as much about their finances.”
Together, the ABA Foundation, AMBA and BBB offer five tips for helping members of the military improve their financial readiness and protect themselves from potential scams.
- Do not trust caller ID. Scammers have ways to falsify numbers and business names.
- Don’t give the caller any personal information. Legitimate callers won’t ask you for that information. If you already did, visit IdentityTheft.gov to find out what steps you can take.
- Check it out. Check the business’ ratings, reviews and contract information online to make sure you are working with the real deal.
- Contact your financial institution right away if you think you’ve been scammed.
- Report scams to BBB Scam Tracker. Visit BBB.org/ScamTracker
“It’s deeply troubling that scam artists are preying on those who serve the nation,” said Steve Lepper, president and CEO of the Associated Military Banks of America. “Following these prudent tips can help military families protect themselves.”
To view the infographic, click here.