Attorney General Todd Rokita is warning veterans and their families to be alert to scammers who target the military community.
“On Veterans Day, we Hoosiers pay tribute to the brave men and women who have served in our U.S. armed forces,” Attorney General Rokita said. “Unfortunately, scammers lurk among us who endeavor not to honor our veterans but rather to take insidious advantage of them and their loved ones.”
Attorney General Rokita prioritizes bringing criminal fraudsters to justice. At the same time — by providing education and raising awareness — he helps would-be victims avoid falling prey to con artists’ schemes in the first place.
Recent scams for which veterans and military service members should be on the lookout include bogus military charities, calls, texts or emails attempting to impersonate the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), copy-cat recruiting websites, and crowdfunding scams.
For the most part, Attorney General Rokita said, military personnel and veterans should follow the same preventative steps as other consumers. In addition, however, they should pay particular attention to the possibility that scammers may use misleading photos or language to falsely imply an association with a branch of the military or veterans group.
Following are tips on protecting personal and financial information:
- Place an active duty alert on credit reports at no cost. An active duty alert requires businesses to take additional steps before granting credit in the name of the active duty personnel serving overseas.
- Carefully inspect email addresses in all messages landing in your inbox.
- Avoid clicking on links in unsolicited emails, and be wary of email attachments.
- Purchase goods and services from trusted vendors. Use trusted, legitimate websites when doing business online.
- Don’t reveal personal or financial information via email or text message.
- Verify the authenticity of a charity before donating money. You may research charities at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website at give.org.
- Pay by credit card for all transactions. This enables you to file disputes with your credit card provider if you encounter fraudulent sellers. Do not wire money to purchase items. Never pay with gift cards.
- Do not follow payment instructions that take you outside of the payment services of legitimate websites with which you are familiar. This is generally a phishing attempt to steal credit card information.
- Take your time. Never feel pressured to act immediately to sign a contract or make a transaction.
If you believe you’ve encountered a scam, file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at www.indianaconsumer.com.