This Memorial Day the Better Business Bureau is warning of scams that target members of the military and veterans.
Michelle Corey is president of the St. Louis Better Business Bureau and says there’s been an uptick in online fraudsters.
One common scam attempts to fool recently relocated soldiers into making too good to be true car purchases.
“What we’ve found with some of these, is they offer false discounts for military personnel," Corey says. "Or, they will lure them in by saying, ‘a soldier needs to sell their vehicle.’ Then they purchase something and there’s no car whatsoever or there’s serious problems with the vehicle.”
Corey also recommends that soldiers put an active duty alert on credit reports when deployed. She says that can minimize the risk of identity theft, because creditors can’t issue credit until the can verify identity.
Other common scams include:
- High-priced military loans: Purveyors of loans may make guarantees, promise instant approval or say their loans are available without credit checks. But the loans often include hidden fees or extremely high interest rates. Legitimate lenders will not guarantee a loan before you apply. Loans that require upfront fees are usually scams.
- Veterans' benefits buyout plans: Cash payments may be offered in exchange for a disabled veteran's future benefits or pension payments. However, the cash is just 30 to 40 percent of what the veteran is entitled to. Buyout plans can be structured in different ways, so research thoroughly before signing anything over.
- Fake rental properties: Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties may be used in ads that promise military discounts or other incentives. Service members must pay security payments or fees via wire transfer to obtain a key. In the end, they receive nothing.
- Phony jury duty summons: A caller clams to work for the local court system and states that the service member did not show up for jury duty and now has a warrant out for their arrest. When the victim says they never got a summons, the caller will ask for a credit card number or Social Security number to clear up the matter.
Follow Tim Lloyd on Twitter: @TimSLloyd