Listen to KID NewsRadio’s full interview with Jeremy Johnson, Marketplace Manager at the Better Business Bureau
IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Memorial Day often brings images of family, barbecues and the end of the school year to mind, but this year the Better Business Bureau is also warning people to watch out for scams targeting military families, veterans and supportive donors.
“Because this is such a holiday that we’re honoring our veterans and thinking about those that served, scammers are always thinking about them too and ways to scam them or ways to scam us by trying to pretend to be those in the military,” Jeremy Johnson, marketplace director for the Better Business Bureau, told KID Newsradio.
Johnson said there are plenty of different scams, but most target two types of groups: those who have served and their families, or those who are sympathetic and supportive of military service members and their families. Where veterans and military are privy to certain benefits for their service, scammers impersonate reputable organizations like the Veteran’s Administration to trick unknowing victims into divulging sensitive and private information.
“A common scam is scammers pose as like the Veteran’s Administration and contacting them and saying, ‘Hey, we really need to update your information,’ and, you know, for them that is a big organization. So, oftentimes they may give up that information and then that puts them at big risk,” Johnson said. “Then there’s military loans, ‘Hey, you could qualify for this military loan guanteed,’ and we all know that no loan is guaranteed until you do the proper paperwork…then there’s so many benefits for military families, so sometimes there’s scams out there to say, ‘Hey, if you want these benefits it’s this charge or this,’ and they can get sucked in to a variety of things and not get the benefits they originally thought they’d get.”
Discerning between scams and real phone calls can be especially tricky for military, but Johnson said if it feels off, it’s never a bad idea to hang up and call the organization itself to verify.