Veterans should be wary of sales or charity pitches that sound too good to be true, the U.S. Postal Service advises. The agency advises vigilance in regards to five particular scams that target those who once served in uniform:
* “Secret” but false “government programs” purporting to pay veterans thousands of dollars. These scammers typically try to trick veterans into sending them money in bogus fees, or garner their personal information.
* Fake charities that claim to help fellow veterans.
* Benefits buyout offers. The scammers offer quick payoffs for veterans who are willing to turn over future disability or pension payments at a fraction of their value.
* Loan scams, that offer to refinance VA Home Loan Guarantees at very low rates.
* Employment scams, which post information about non-existent jobs. Again, these scammers are after bogus fees and personal information.
The Postal Service also cited AARP statistics indicating that veterans are twice as likely to fall victim to scammers as the overall U.S. populace. Veterans would be well served by:
* Verifying charities before sending them any money. The online sites Charity Navigator, CharityWatch and GuideStar are good sources of information regarding the legitimacy of charities.
* Refusing to give out any personal information over the phone. This includes bank account, Social Security and credit card numbers.
* Refusing to act immediately on any requests for donations.
* Registering phones numbers with the National Do Not Call registry at www.donotcall.gov.
* Come forward if they feel they have been victimized. Report scams to their local police departments, or to the AARP at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 877-908-3360.
The Postal Service offers more online help at www.operationprotectveterans.com and https://postalinspectors.uspis.gov/.