LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY)– Veterans, be warned. As veterans try to navigate government programs and benefits, scammers are starting to take advantage. The Better Business Bureau has received reports of con-artists pretending to represent government programs.
“We’ve had reports of veterans receiving messages sometimes in email or even a phone call but a lot of times in a social media messenger from people claiming to be with the government or some type of government agency telling them that they’re eligible for certain benefits and funds,” says Chris Babin of the BBB.
Of course to access these benefits, scammers require veterans to pay money upfront. Payments will supposedly cover processing fees or application fees. Babin wants veterans to know, government grants and benefits do not require those types of fees to check your eligibility. Real programs also do not require personal identifying information.
“They’re telling the veterans in order to see if they’re eligible and they need their social security number, date of birth, and those sensitive, identifying parts of your information that could lead to identity theft,” said Babin.
Here’s some tips on how you can avoid scams targeting veterans:
- Do research first. No matter how good an offer sounds, don’t agree to anything immediately without doing research. Look up the program the person is claiming to represent.
- Don’t give in to pressure. Anyone with a legitimate aid program won’t mind if you need some time to think things over and do some research. Scammers often pressure people to act right away.
- Be wary of unsolicited offers. The government will not contact you out of the blue with an offer. Government communications usually come through the mail.
- Never pay upfront for a loan or grant. You should never pay for a free service for veterans.
- watch out for mortgage scams. Scammers may be after your money with mortgage aid scams.
If you have a scam you’d like me to investigate, feel free to send me an email at email@example.com.