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AARP takes aim at scams that target veterans

Virginia’s more than 726,000 military veterans and service members are at risk of being targeted by scammers. Today, April 20, AARP reported it has launched the AARP Veterans Fraud Center, a new online education and resource tool, to help protect them against fraud.

AARP said its survey found that one in three military/veteran adults reported losing money to scams that specifically try to take advantage of the trust they have in the military community. The AARP news release said that these individuals lost more than $267 million in 2021, up from $102 million in 2020 (a 162 percent increase), based Federal Trade Commission reports. Veterans, active-duty service members and their families are 40 percent more likely to lose money to scams and fraud than the civilian population, AARP said.

“Targeting scams at members of the military community is unconscionable,” said AARP Virginia State President Joyce Williams. “AARP Virginia has launched this effort to alert veterans and their families of the latest scams and how to avoid them.”

Top scams aimed at veterans, according to AARP are:

• Benefit Buyouts: Turning over U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) pension and/or disability benefits for a supposed lump-sum payment that never materializes (47%).
• Fraudulent records scam: Paying for updated personal military records (32%).
• Fake charitable giving request: Donating to fake veteran charities (32%).

Veterans never have to pay for their service records or earned benefits—if told otherwise, it’s a scam, AARP stated in a news release.

Free resources in the AARP Veterans Fraud Center include:

• A new AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans’ Edition, highlighting tips to detect the most common ways con artists target veterans and military families; and
• AARP Fraud Watch Network and Scam-Tracking Map; and Operation Protect Veterans—a joint program of the AARP Fraud Watch Network and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.

Some top tips AARP’s Fraud Watch Network recommends include: signing up for the National Do Not Call Registry and using a call-blocking service; using strong and unique passwords for each online account; using two-factor authentication when available; and placing a free security freeze on credit reports at each of the three major credit bureaus.

Knowledge gives you power over scams. Join AARP Virginia and attendees from across the U.S. for a FREE virtual event on Friday, April 22, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. AARP membership is not required.

To strike back against scammers, AARP Virginia and Fairfax County’s Silver Shield Task Force are working together to empower consumers to spot and avoid scams, and to provide support and guidance to victims and their families when fraud happens.

To learn more about the AARP Veterans Fraud Center and to download a free copy of the new Watchdog Alert Handbook: Veterans’ Edition, visit .

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