BALTIMORE - They are the men and women who serve our country, but all their military training can't protect soldiers and veterans from one thing: scams. The Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland says those two populations of people are frequent targets. Jody Thomas with the BBB says, "It happens. It happens often and it's despicable."
The BBB, which assists current service members through its Military Line program, believes soldiers and their families are often sought out for bad deals and schemes. Thomas explains, "Scammers know that military members and their families have steady income so that makes a prime target and a very attractive target for scammers."
The BBB says service members are vulnerable to things like online housing scams, shady loan programs, investment schemes and even shady sales pitches for things like security systems their families can use to feel safe while they're overseas. Thomas believes their age is usually a factor, "Service members are generally in their 20s so they're not as experienced and they might have young family members at home when they're deployed."
But returning soldiers and veterans are also preyed upon. The BBB says charity scams are a popular choice for this population, as they're solicited for donations by so-called charities that claim to have military ties, or at least sound like they do. Thomas says, "They'll try to draw on something that sounds familiar, so you really need to check those out."
The BBB advises doing a Google search for any charity that contacts you for a donation. You should also check their record with the BBB and make sure they've registered with the state of Maryland. And don't make a hasty decision with your dollars. In many situations, these scammers know vets have a soft spot for patriotic causes and will try pulling on their heartstrings to get what they want.