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Beshear warns of scams targeting veterans

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Posted at 10:05 AM, Nov 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-11 10:06:46-05

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — Attorney General Andy Beshear has issued a scam alert to warn of scams that target veterans, active-duty service members, reservists and military families.

According to a press release, Beshear said the alert was necessary after a recent study by AARP that found that more veterans are targeted by con artists compared to non-veterans. According to the study, around 78 percent of veterans reported receiving a scam attempt in the last five years in regards to taking advantage of their military veteran status.

"This Veterans Day, I urge Kentuckians to join me in paying our respects to those who have served," said Beshear. "As we reach out to thank the veterans in our lives let's take time to warn them, especially our senior veterans, of common military scams and help reverse the high rates of veterans and their families falling victim to con artists looking to prey upon them because of their service to our country."

There are more than 300,000 veterans in Kentucky who could be targeted in these scams, according to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs.

The office also leased tips on how to avoid scams:

Charitable Donations

  • Scam: Con artists claim to be veterans or service members that are collecting donations to support other veterans.
  • Tip: Verify all charities before making the donation and never send cash, wire money, pay in gift cards or use other untraceable methods of payment. You can verify a charitable organization by clicking here.

Military Discounts and Free Programs

  • Scam: Discounts on taxes, rent, prescription drugs and medical bills. Scammers choose to target veterans and claim to offer military discounts or access to free goods and services through a special government program.
  • Tip: If a deal sounds too good to be true, avoid it. Many organizations offer genuine discounts for veterans, but it is advised to first research online through the Better Business Bureau to make sure they are legitimate. Never provide sensitive or personal information to receive a discount.

U.S. Soldier Impersonation

  • Scam: A lot of veteran-specific scams appear as someone who is pretending to be a U.S. soldier and claiming that they need financial help. They can also say that they are offering to sell goods and services at cheaper prices. The scammers can even open fake social media accounts using stolen names and photos of actual U.S. soldiers.
  • Tip: Soldiers and their families are encouraged to search social media sites to see if a scammer is using their name and information. Soldiers should do a Google search of their social media profile pictures. If a soldier or a family member is being impersonated, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command offers a flier that provides resources to help stop the fake profiles.

For a complete list of scams and tips on how to avoid them, click here.

If you have been a victim of a scam, contact the Attorney General's Office at (888) 432-9257 and file a complaint online.