Scams Targeting Military Veterans & Service Members
This month, Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino and the NJ Division of Consumer Affairs announced “Defending Our Heroes,” a new initiative targeting fraudsters who are victimizing both military veterans and active duty service members. Yes, you read that correctly. After laying their lives on the line to protect our freedom, the men and women of the United States Armed Forces have phone and e-mail scams to look forward to.
If that did not sound preposterous enough, the fraudsters are choosing to antagonize approximately 413,000 veterans and 7,500 active-duty service members in New Jersey alone. Veterans, known for their patriotism and goodwill, are profiled by scammers and identity thieves as being susceptible to fraudulent scams. Service men and women who are still actively serving their country are prone to long absences and frequent relocations. Despite these soldiers’ training, the vultures do not stay away.
The Defending Our Heroes program combines online information, public outreach, and educational materials to promote awareness of financial fraud targeting military service members. Some scams are even perpetrated by individuals posing as members of the military.
A subdivision of New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs’ website, the Defending Our Heroes program, aims to promote awareness of this problem by providing online information, public outreach, and educational materials. Some of the scams covered in detail include:
- Military Discount Scams. Perpetrators will offer special pricing on items, for example, vehicle loans. The scam is to trick victims into paying bogus “upfront fees.”
- Bogus Charity Scams. Veterans and service men and women will receive phone calls asking for donations to bogus charities supposedly for veterans and their families.
- Identity Theft Scams. Con artists pose as VA representatives and attempt to get victims to divulge personal information ton confirm their identities.
- Funds for Service Member Scams. Via e-mail alone, the list of bogus money requests gets longer and longer. These are messages asking for funds for a “secure phone line” or for a service member who needs “travel expenses” after returning home from deployment. The fake identities assumed could be someone providing a fake military ID or even someone claiming to be a member of a Special Forces team whose personal information is classified or top secret.
- Online Dating Scams. Sadly, the experience of internet dating is full of horror stories and this scam would fit right in. Among the shady individuals apparently frequenting dating websites, some are posing as military deployed overseas in Afghanistan and other hot spots presumably hoping to evoke the kind of sympathy that wires money or writes checks.
- Nigerian Prince Scam. Finally, counterfeit service members even have their own version of the Nigerian Prince scam. These unscrupulous individuals want you to believe that, while fighting in the Middle East, they stumbled upon a fortune, obviously squirreled away by Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. They need your help to either transport the treasure or bribe corrupt government officials, all for your cut, of course.
If you feel that you are or have been victimized because you are a military veteran/service member or because you have been targeted by fraud that is somehow military-related or in any other form, please contact this office today for the services of a consumer law attorney for a free initial consultation.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
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