O’ Say Can You See Who’s Watching Me
By Keisha Jackson
An elderly man is awakened by a phone call, “Your grandson is incarcerated in a foreign jail and asked that I contact you to pay his bail before his first sergeant is notified.” A woman goes door-to-door asking for charitable donations to support troops aiding an orphanage overseas. A military couple reads a letter received in the mail regarding a VA Loan Program that guarantees a low rate. A veteran family caregiver talks on the phone with a gentleman who says he represents the Veterans Administration and needs her son’s social security number and a copy of his DD 214 to process a disability claim. Although there are legitimate organizations and individuals looking to connect with and support our military/veterans and their families, before releasing yours or your loved one’s information, ask yourself… O’ Say Can You See Who’s Watching Me?
From January 2017 through September 2021, military consumers told the Federal Trade Commission about more than 961,000 reports related to fraud, identity theft, or other consumer issue. In 2021 fraud cost veterans, active service members and their families $267 million.
In Nov 2021, AARP conducted a survey which concluded veterans, active-duty service members and their families are nearly 40% more likely than civilians to lose money to scams and fraud.
Scammers know veterans have a sense of community and believe in giving back.
Scammers find background information about the military community.
Scammers often use military jargon to relate.
Scammers are no respecter of person—WWI and Korean U.S. Navy Officer, Federal Judge, former FBI and CIA Director William Webster and his wife were targeted (https://youtu.be/yqsgKsO6H_c)
Common military, veteran, and family members scams:
To help combat, veterans, active-duty service members and their families from being scammed, AARP launched the Veterans Fraud Center, an online education and resource hub with information on the latest scams targeting the military community (https://campaigns.aarp.org/vets-fraud-center/).
Ways to protect yourself and your loved ones:
Ways to report scams:
Scammers change their tactics. They may replicate phone numbers that appear real on the caller ID and text messages, send phishing emails, troll communities, or set up fake organizations, websites, and social media accounts.
Before releasing any of yours or your loved one’s personal information (especially when unsolicited) ask yourself…, O’ Say Can You See Who’s Watching Me?