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Veterans Battle Surprise Attacks from Fraud and Scams

Consistent with a 2017 AARP survey, this current research found that more active-duty service members and veterans than civilians continue to receive many fraudulent solicitations and are significantly more likely to lose money to a scam than civilians.

Fraudulent service-related offers also continue to plague active duty military and veterans and have resulted in one-third of them losing money to at least one of the offers listed in the survey question.

Robocalls, spam email, suspicious text or instant messages are common ways in which con artists attempt to contact consumers, and both military/veterans and civilians report receiving too many of each per week. Yet, too many respondents in both samples are not making use of some helpful prevention measures such as blocking services, the National Do Not Call Registry, security freezes on credit reports, or inquiring about the allocation of a donation. 

AARP’s Fraud Watch Network has been working with the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS) on Operation Protect Veterans — a public awareness initiative to help veterans and military families fight back and protect themselves and their loved ones by raising visibility to the most current. These 2021 AARP survey findings indicate a strong need for additional media and public attention to keep veterans, military, and their families informed, so they can more easily detect and fend off a “scambush”—surprise attacks from scams and fraud. 

Methodology

NORC conducted the Veteran Scams 2021 Survey using NORC’s AmeriSpeak® Panel for the sample source. This research was done to understand more about how consumers are impacted by scam solicitations.

A general population sample of US adults age 18+ who were not active or former military was selected from NORC’s AmeriSpeak Panel for this study. Additionally, an oversample of active and former members of the US military was also selected.

The sample for a specific study was selected from the AmeriSpeak Panel using sampling strata based on age, race/Hispanic ethnicity, education, and gender (48 sampling strata in total). The size of the selected sample per sampling stratum was determined by the population distribution for each stratum. In addition, sample selection takes into account expected differential survey completion rates by demographic groups so that the set of panel members with a completed interview for a study is a representative sample of the target population. If panel household has one more than one active adult panel member, only one adult in the household is eligible for selection (random within-household sampling). 

Suggested citation:

Sauer, Jennifer. Scambush: Military Veterans Battle Surprise Attacks From Scams and Fraud. Washington, DC: AARP Research, November 2021. https://doi.org/10.26419/res.00502.001

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