Statistics show the number of scams reported by military consumers is on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission recently published stats showing that in 2018, it received 28,660 nationwide reports of identity theft from military consumers. Of those 28,660, credit card fraud was the number one theft type reported.
BBB’s Institute for Marketplace Trust reports service members and veterans lost 33.3% more money in 2018 than the average consumer. For this reason, BBB offers various programs and resources specifically for military personnel and their families through its Military Line.
One of these resources is BBB’s Saluting Trust newsletter. Saluting Trust helps military consumers protect themselves financially and avoid scams.
BBB also facilitates in-person workshops that cover how to buy a home, investing for retirement, avoiding identity theft, outsmarting investment fraud, investing in higher education and how to be a smart military consumer.
In 2018, BBB received 4,708 nationwide reports from military personnel, veterans and military spouses through BBB Scam Tracker, an online tool that enables people to report scams to help prevent others from falling prey to similar cons. The easy-to-use tool collects and presents scam data in a searchable online heat map, showing users the number and types of scams and hoaxes reported in their communities.
If you are active duty military, a veteran or a military spouse, here are some tips to protect yourself:
• Subscribe to BBB’s Saluting Trust newsletter to stay up to date on financial readiness tips and scam alerts. Sign up at http://bit.ly/SalutingTrust.
• Contact your BBB to schedule workshops for your organization’s military-affiliated consumers. Active duty Airmen at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base should contact the Airmen & Family Readiness Center for a current schedule of upcoming Military Line workshops. Call 937-257-3592.
• Check out BBB’s military and veterans blog that reports on the riskiest scams and provides up-to-date information. Visit http://bit.ly/BBBMilitaryandVeteransBlog for more information.
• Use trusted third-party resources, such as your Better Business Bureau before doing business with companies. And, report scams you experience to BBB’s Scam Tracker.Visit www.bbb.org or call 937-222-5825 or 800-776-5301.
Protecting military service members and veterans is a passion and privilege for your BBB. Military families across the Miami Valley do so much for our community and should always feel they have the resources, education and support they need.
The writer is the president and CEO of Better Business Bureau serving Dayton and Miami Valley.