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BBB warns scammers target veterans during patriotic holidays

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala - Many people are celebrating our nation's independence, but with the holiday, unfortunately, comes schemes.
Scammers use this time of year to swindle veterans.

Top 5 Most Risky Scams For Veterans - According to BBB

  1. Employment Scams: According to the BBB this is the riskiest scam for veterans and their spouses.
  2. Home Improvement Scams: 61% of military consumers who reported a home improvement scam lost money, which is much higher than the 50% of all consumer types.
  3. Fake Check/Money Order Scams
  4. Online Purchase Scams
  5. Tech Support Scams

There are employment, home improvement, and even retirement, disability, and health benefit scams that fraudsters use to target former and active military members.
According to the BBB Scam Tracker, veterans and their families reported a median loss of $280 at the hands of scammers last year. That is 27% higher than the general public. Which makes it even more important for veterans to heed this warning.

Linda Blankenship is a veteran. So is her son. Shortly after he completed his term of service she got a strange phone call.

"The person said that they were from the Montgomery VA office," she said. "They said they were calling to find out if he needed benefits or help with his benefits."

The caller was asking for sensitive personal information.

"His phone number, his birth date, part of his social security number," she explained.

She hung up the phone since she was worried this person was not from the VA.

"They have their hands full and so I just didn't really believe that they would be calling somebody out of the blue to see if they needed assistance," she stated.

Turns out she was right.

"Actually that's quite a common scam, it's gone on for many years," said Elizabeth Garcia, BBB of North Alabama president.

The bright lights of fireworks can have a dark side. Scammers use holidays like the Fourth of July to their advantage.

"During these holidays, in fact, especially the holidays that commemorate our veterans," Garcia said.

Garcia has a warning for veterans.

If anyone calls you out of the blue claiming to be whether it's from the VA, or the Medicare office, or the US government, don't believe it.

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