Like so many other holidays, celebrations and remembrances, Memorial Day has also become a magnet for scammers, according to the Better Business Bureau, or BBB.
The BBB is urging military servicemen and servicewomen to be on their guard against dicey deals and unfavorable offers of financial products and services.
Service members' unique lifestyles, including long stints overseas, can make them prime targets for scammers, according to Brenda Linnington, director of BBB Military Line.
"It's imperative that we educate our service members and ensure that the support we give to them equals the effort they make every day on behalf of us," Linnington said in a BBB statement.
The list of scams is long and full of frauds that can wreak major financial havoc. Here are some common ones to watch out for.
- Scammers pose as Veterans Administration employees, contacting veterans and telling them they need to update their banking, credit card or other financial records.
- Scammers charge service members for services they can obtain free or less expensively elsewhere. One example: copies of military records.
- Scammers target military service members with offers of financial products and services that sound reasonable, but have high interest rates and hidden fees. Catchphrases such as "instant approval," "no credit check" or "all ranks approved" can be red flags.
- Scammers try to convince elderly veterans to transfer their assets into fraudulent irrevocable trusts.
- Scammers offer housing with discounts and incentives for servicepersons and then steal the serviceperson's security deposit. These scams typically originate with online ads.
The best defense is to safeguard personal financial and identification information. The BBB says service members and veterans should never give their Social Security, bank account, military identification or credit card numbers to anyone who contacts them by telephone or email. Always be wary of solicitations that involve financial products or money transfers.
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