AARP launches new fraud center to help protect veterans

On April 21, AARP launched the AARP Veterans Fraud Center, a new online education and resource center to help protect veterans, service members and their families against fraud. Wyoming’s 50,852 military veterans and active-duty service members are at risk of being targeted by scammers.

According to a survey conducted by the non-profit organization, one in three military/veteran adults reported losing money to scams that are specifically geared to take advantage of the trust they have in the military community. Veterans, active-duty service members and their families are 40% more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population. These individuals lost more than $267 million in 2021, up from $102 million in 2020, this is a 162% increase, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

“Targeting scams at members of the military community is unconscionable,” AARP State Director Sam Shumway said. “AARP has launched this effort to alert veterans and their families of the latest scams and how to avoid them.”

According to AARP these are the top scams aimed at veterans:

Benefit Buyouts: Turning over U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pension and/or disability benefits for a supposed lump-sum payment that never materializes (47%).

Fraudulent records scam: Paying for updated personal military records (32%).

The fake charitable giving request: Donating to fake veteran charities (32%).

AARP offers these free resources through the new AARP Veterans Fraud Center:

A new AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans’ Edition, highlighting tips to detect the most common ways con artists target veterans and military families.

The AARP Fraud Watch Network and Scam-Tracking Map

Operation Protect Veterans—a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Some top tips that AARP’s Fraud Watch Network recommends include: signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry and using a call-blocking service; using strong and unique passwords for each online account; using two-factor authentication when available; and placing a free security freeze on credit reports at each of the three major credit bureaus. Also, veterans never have to pay for their service records or earned benefits—if told otherwise, it’s a scam.

To learn more about the AARP Veterans Fraud Center and to download a free copy of the new Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans’ Edition, click here

For additional resources and information on AARP’s support for veterans and military families, including caregiving, competing in today’s job market, and connecting with earned service benefits, click here.

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