(WRIC) — Veterans are twice as likely as the general public to be victims of scams, according to research conducted by AARP. But the U.S. Postal Inspection Service advises there are way to protect those who have served.
Operation Protect Veterans is a joint crime prevention program created by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and AARP, working to alert the more than 17 million U.S. veterans to scams specifically targeting them.
“Veterans have access to special benefits and share a special bond that scammers know and use to take advantage of them,” Chief Postal Inspector Gary Barksdale said. “The Postal Inspection Service works hard every day to stop scams targeting veterans, but we need everyone to become better informed, so they can help spread the knowledge to the veterans they know and love. I encourage all Americans to make this Veteran’s Day not only a day of remembrance and thanks for our veterans, but also to make it the start of learning about, and helping to spread information on scams targeting veterans.”
According to a Monday release, scammers might tell veterans that they qualify for “secret” government programs or benefits that offer thousands of dollars. But first, fraudsters attempt to collect personal information or a fee. Officials say scammers will also offer veterans lump sum payments up front in exchange for signing over all their future monthly benefit checks.
The Postal Inspection Service also says scammers will post fake job descriptions to collect personal information from a veteran’s job application, or they charge an employment fee. Fraudsters will even offer to refinance VA loans at extremely low rates.
The Postal Inspection Service advises every veteran check out any offer they receive with a trusted family member, friend, or local veteran’s affairs office before acting. Veterans should not be pressured to act immediately.
Veterans who believe they may have been the victim of the scam should contact local police, or AARP at 877-908-3360.