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beware of scams targeting the military, dubious charity appeals

(WFSB) – The Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​reminds consumers to beware of schemes with a patriotic or military approach.

The following scams are typically aimed at service members:

  • High Priced Military Loans
    • Ads for loans that promise a guarantee, instant approval, or no credit check often come with hidden fees and extremely high interest rates.
    • Remember that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before you apply, and loans that require an upfront fee are likely a scam.
  • Benefit Buyout Plans for Veterans
    • This buyout plan will offer a cash payment in exchange for a disabled veteran’s future benefits or pension payments.
    • The cash amount is only about 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to.
    • These buyout plans can be structured in a number of different ways, so do your research thoroughly before signing on to anything.
  • False rental properties
    • Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives.
    • Service members will have to pay a fee by bank transfer for security payments or a key to the property, in the end they will receive nothing.
  • Misleading car sales
    • Websites running classified ads offer fake military discounts or claim to be from military members who need to sell their vehicle quickly since deployment.
    • An initial fee will be required by bank transfer, otherwise the vehicle will have problems after purchase.
  • Expensive life insurance policies
    • Military members are often the target of high-pressure sales pitches that offer unnecessary and expensive life insurance policies.
    • Lawyers can misrepresent the benefits of these policies.

To avoid scams, consumers should get as much information as possible about a business or charity before paying or donating.

Never transfer money to someone you don’t know.

Do not click on links in unsolicited emails.

Put an Active Duty alert on your credit reports upon deployment.

BBB military line provides free resources.