Military Consumer Protection Month, recognized every July since 2013, is an opportunity for consumer awareness, enforcement and advocacy groups to focus on the impact of fraudulent or malicious business practices on the military community. In addition to the sacrifices members of the U.S. armed forces and their families make daily, they must also remain on guard against unethical business practices and scams that often target this community with sophisticated, customized tactics. According to a recent BBB study, the military community’s susceptibility to scams dropped in 2022 from 2021, but the median dollar loss for active-duty personnel and military spouses rose 63% and 46% respectively.
A few common scams that target military members include:
• High-priced military loans
• Veterans’ benefits buyout plans
• Fake rental properties
• Misleading car sales
• Expensive life insurance policies
Since 2020, the military community (active-duty personnel, veterans, and military spouses) have reported more than $10 million in losses to BBB Scam Tracker with veterans losing the most amount of money every year. BBB research found that military consumers reported significantly higher median financial losses ($238) than non-military consumers ($163) in 2022 even though their exposure to scams was substantially less.
Government impostor scams can be even more catastrophic for those in the military community who often interact with governmental agencies for assistance with veteran benefits, housing, and medical care. Government impostors often use scare tactics and threats to pressure victims to take immediate action, such as claims of arrest, suspension of a Social Security number, bank account seizure, or additional fines. Some have become so advanced they even provide fake federal badges and direct victims to lookalike websites designed to steal personal information.
For more information and resources to help protect the military community, visit BBB.org/Military.
To view the 2022 Scam Tracker Risk Report – Spotlight on Military Families and Veterans infographic, visit BBBMarketplaceTrust.org/RiskReport.
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