Veterans Day honors those who've protected the nation. Better Business Bureau serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington aims to protect military members and veterans from scams that often target our nation's heroes.
Military Loans: Flashy offers promising "up to 40 percent of your monthly take home pay," "guaranteed loans," "instant approval," "no credit check," "all ranks approved," often come with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees designed to bilk borrowers out of cash and damage financial security.
Housing: Ads promising military discounts and too-good-to-be-true incentives use stolen photos of legitimate rental properties to bait renters out of security deposits via money transfer schemes.
Cars: Low-priced vehicles posted on classified ad websites tout discounts for military personnel, or claim to be from soldiers who need to sell fast because they've been deployed. Schemers convince buyers to wire money; however, vehicle data is stolen.
If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. BBB offers help:
- Protect Finances: Never wire transfer money to strangers.
- Check Companies and Charities: Research companies at www.bbb.org for free BBB Reliability Reports or Charity Review Reports.
- Defend Computers: Avoid visiting unfamiliar sites or opening e-mails from unknown senders. Install a firewall and updated anti-virus software.
- Safeguard Identities: Actively deployed military personnel can place an "active duty alert" on their credit reports to help minimize the risk of identity theft. With this alert, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires creditors and businesses to verify identities before issuing or granting credit. The Federal Trade Commission offers advice to help military families deter, detect and defend from identity theft.
- Report Scams: File complaints with BBB, www.bbb.org, the FTC, www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Consumer Education: BBB Foundation offers BBB Military Line to help military members, veterans and their families make educated financial decisions and defend themselves against common scams: www.akorww.bbb.org/military.