Veterans, military personnel and their families continue to be targeted by con artists significantly more than civilians outside the military community and often lose more money when hit by similar scams, a new AARP report says.
Solicitations tied to tech support or repair were the most common; next were bogus travel deals, lottery winnings, special discounts and phishing for account information, according to the just-released report, "Scambush: Military Veterans Battle Surprise Attacks From Scams & Fraud."
Thirty-five percent of service members and veterans lost money to a scam, compared to 25 percent of civilians surveyed. The largest number of military respondents fell victim to grandparent impostor scams, followed by tech support fraud, IRS impostors, fake offers to fix a low credit rating, credit card fraud and phishing emails seeking personal information.
When asked about scams tied to their service, 1 in 3 current or former service members said they lost money, and most often they were victimized by disability-benefit scams. Next most common were appeals from bogus veteran charities and fake requests to update military records. Among those who lost money, nearly half reported their loss arose after an offer promising a lump-sum payment for signing over their disability benefits to a scammer.
E-mail was the top communication method scammers used to reach the military community members surveyed, as 74 percent of these respondents said they received 10 or more spam emails a week. Robocalls were the next most common method of outreach, followed by suspicious texts or instant messages, the report says.
Why are veterans targeted?
One reason veterans are heavily targeted by scammers is that the implicit trust in fellow members of the military community can make them more vulnerable to impostors claiming to be veterans.