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Scams target military personnel

By Marcie Geffner ·
Thursday, May 24, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

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.

Follow me on Twitter: @marciegeff.

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July 19, 2012 at 7:50 pm

And Nora Gonzales,

EVERYTHING is documented with the military. DO not let this man anywhere near you. A leave and earnings statement (L&E Statement) can be easily copied and pasted and uploaded from the internet through a servicemember's social security number. This person may not even be who he says he is.

You may not even know his true name. Get all the info about him, collect it, do it quietly and do not let on that you know. Have a friend with you at all times when meeting this person.

Pretend that you have sisters and brothers or even cousins with you. If he can lie to you, lie to him to protect yourself.

Many of these fraudsters go dumpster diving or steal military documentation to claim that they are the soldier named on that document.

You can even ask a local (or even call) a local recruiter of the United States Army and they will be glad to tell you how it work and who to call.

If you anonymously reported this person, you will be a hero because more than likely, this jerk may have stolen a deceased soldiers' documents or has found them in the trash or has taken them from a relative or a close friend.

It is very easy to alter these documents and insert different names (Even their own). Please stay away from this person and be sure to inform your local police department or the Department of The United States Army for fraud because this is a Federal Crime to imitate any one serving the government and those who commit this fraud is dangerous and bold to take such a chance with you.

This is a web of a scam and this person is dangerous. He is either trying to get his feet wet with you and has others who are working with him to strategize this kind of fraud. Please be discreet and do not give this person any more information about yourself. You can NEVER know ANYONE.

No solider will ask anyone for money. This has been confirmed by my own husband who is a veteran is is seething when I told him about this. Be a smart heroine and discreetly distance yourself from this individual. He is NOT a friend of yours.

Anyone who fights for your country will protect their fellow American from this kind of fraud.

If they will take a bullet in a foreign land for you, they certainly will not come home a turn against you as an enemy. No true service member of this country will need to do this.

Don't let on that you even know this because you do not know his friends or his cohorts because more than likely this is a scam involving more than this man alone. Get away from him NOW. Play dumb.

Tell trusted friends only (not people who know him or even distally know him). Go to a police department or the military and please have a report written to protect yourself. Get his license plate number and turn him in quietly. They will know who he truly is. Please read this.

July 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I apologize. To Ms. Nora Gonzales (not Ginzales) error..I am so ticked that this con-artist would ask such a thing.

July 19, 2012 at 7:22 pm

To Nora Ginzales,

This is a total scam and it does not work that way. You can contact the institution for yourself and ask if this is the way that former service members handle any kind of transactions.

Just because someone claims to be in the military army, truly, does not mean that they are.

DO you know how very easy it is to copy and paste documents that are found from a true service member? This man who is asking for 650.00 is a pro and is more than likely working this con to more than one person. Let's say that you are the 7th person who has believed in this man's story.

Guess how much he is making if you take 650.00 X 7 (people)= a whole heck of a LOT of money. Many scams of this type starts with an amount which is innocuous or is disarming (meaning, it sounds like a small amount).

Just because it is a smaller amount doesn't mean that it is not a con job. And why would he ask a lady for such money? Involve an attorney for consultation.

Most servicemembers who recieve their benefits simple get their benefits with an authentic letter from the military branch itself. The former servicemember is not with held their monies, never.

And if they "owe" anything for which they must pay any amount, it will most likely be automatically deducted from the servicemembers' paycheck with an arrangement to abscond such monies agreed upon over time.

No true respective service member will ever hit up a lady for such an amount.

Former service members will get their monies immediately and will never have to pay for their monies to be released. Never.

Get away from this person quickly because he will sell you another emotional story and will even provide papers to show you how authentic his claim is.

There is a specific letter and discussion between the service member and their military branch. His retirement benefits will simply be released to him if he is a true former service member. People like him make good soliders look bad and they break your heart and soil your outlook on the human being who is not a fraudster.

They are not allowed to ask for money , particularly, under those false circumstances. I hope that you will read this before you do anything.

I pray in Jesus' Name that you recieve this message right now. DO NOT DO THIS. It is a fraud. Con people are charming, they make you laugh, they make you feel as if you are a member of their team and their cause.

Remember, monsters do not look like monsters nor robbers appear like robbers or else they'd KNOW that YOU know to stay far away from them. Con-talk is the kind of talk that makes you feel as if you owe someone somthing. Do not lend this man any money of any amount under any circumstances.

If you do, involve a law enforcement third party (better yet) find out the back ground of this individual through your local police department and they will tell you right out if this person has a background in this type of emotional theft.

Tell this person that you do not have any money and that you are in financial trouble yourself. Reverse the emotional con on this jerk and do not comfront this person with what you know.

Keep your cards close to your chest and simply say that your attorney does not advise you to do this at this time and tell this guy that if he would like to speak to your attorney about this, here is the number (take any number from the telephone book and do alert others in a discerning and quiet manner because you do not truly know if there are others involved in this scam.

Please do not do it. Period. No exceptions or you will be out of too much of your hard-earned money. if he needs such money, his fellow service members WILL raise it for him to pay his bills as units have always done for their own.

A solider will NEVER ask a woman for this amount of money , they will go to their former unit buddies for helo. They have plenty of help within the military for people like him, IF he is the real deal.

Soldiers typically have dignity and if they have fought for our country, they are clever enough to earn such an amount on their own. They are trained to think on their feet and are too proud to be.

There are WAY too many services for vets if they are in trouble with bills. If this were true in his case, he's be recieving a LOT of help and services. Tell him to sign up with the American Legion if he is having true money troubles.

Be Blessed and know that Our Lord is ALWAYS watching and hates dishonest scales and measures.

I am a daughter of a WW2 Vet (deceased) father of the Navy and a Wife of an Army Veteran of 10 years!

nora gonzales
June 29, 2012 at 11:27 am

I see that you work with scams and frauds I need to ask you a question. Well I met. This man who says he is in the military army and he asked me for some money to pay some bills $650.00. Before they can release his retirement benefits he needed to pay that amount to the army.are they allowed to ask for money? Frm civilans? I would appreciate if you can help me.