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Feds cracking down on schemes targeting military personnel and veterans

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(KTVI) - They've served their country with honor, but it`s that very service that makes them targets. The Federal Trade Commission is on the front line in the battle against fraud that targets soldiers. The federal agency has designated July 16th Military Consumer Protection Day. The goal: help active duty and veterans recognize fraud and avoid becoming victims. The Better Business Bureau supports it. Chris Thetford of the BBB says it works hand in hand with the BBB`s awareness campaign called Military Line. 'You have these families that are making great sacrifices for us but these thieves understand they can take advantage of them because of the situation they`re in.'

Scams include:

  • Loans promising instant approval or no credit check, bad idea because you pay extremely high interest rates.
  • Benefit buyout plans--cash exchanged for a disabled vet's future benefits or pension payments. It turns out the cash is 30 to 40 percent less than what the vet is entitled to.
  • Rental property--- from overseas the soldier wires the security deposit in exchange for a house key that opens nothing.
  • Misleading car sales--usually found in online ads or a soldier tries to sell quickly due to reality the car doesn't exist.
  • And the fake investment adviser visiting nursing homes and assisted living facilities. They promise additional VA benefits with a quick overhaul of the veterans existing portfolio a waste of time.

Stress can be a factor making soldiers vulnerable according to Thetford. 'With constant redeployment's and the stress of being a military family, scammers understand that and they take advantage of military families because of that. '

Scammers also know people want to help servicemen and women. Three months ago, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster filed a lawsuit against a St. Charles man for fraudulently collecting money for the Wounded Warriors Project.

For information on Military Consumer Protection Day check the links below to the Federal Trade Commission and the Better Business Bureau. Call us with your consumer issues. The toll-free number is 800 782-2222. The line is open Monday through Friday from 11am till 1pm.


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