ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — According to the Better Business Bureau (BBB), military spouses and veterans are often hit the hardest by employment scams.
Henry County resident and retired military wife Susan Thompson responded to an email about an administrative assistant job. It sounded lucrative, until they asked for her bank account information over the phone, claiming it was required to set up direct deposit. Fortunately, she didn’t provide it, but thousands do, not realizing they’ve been scammed until the scammers steal their hard-earned dollars. Thompson says she’s received countless other calls and texts that sounded too good to be true. “Do not trust strangers offering you money that seems easy, that’s quick. If it’s a person or they have a name, Google it. See if it’s even a real person,” she said.
The BBB warns to never provide personal information over the phone. They issued the press release below with links to information on avoiding scams.
A recent BBB report shed light on those most impacted by employment scams: service members, military spouses, and veterans. Service members, military spouses, and veterans all reported higher likelihoods of losing money and higher median dollar losses to scammers, according to the 2020 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report.
Published by the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust (BBB Institute), the study analyzes scams reported to BBB Scam Tracker, spotlighting the latest fraud risks facing consumers. Veterans reported a median loss of $133, military spouses reported a median $132 loss, and active duty service members reported a median loss of $269 – all of which were higher than the $115 median loss reported across all consumers in 2020.
The likelihood of loss reported across all consumers was 46.4% in 2020. Veterans reported a slightly higher likelihood of loss at 46.8%. Military families reported the highest likelihoods of loss at 50.8% for military spouses and 59.7% for service members.
The top reason victims engaged with the scammer was the ability to work from home – a critical need of those balancing family obligations and unpredictable moves. Flexibility was also noted as a top reason for engaging in these opportunities.
The study showed that prevention and intervention methods could reduce the likelihood of a financial loss. Those who heard of employment scams and tactics prior to the encounter were significantly less likely to lose money, reinforcing the need to continue outreach about these risky scams.
As soldiers return to civilian life and re-enter the workforce, they face unique difficulties. Some veterans find challenges in applying for education benefits, navigating disability claims or searching for employment. Finding trustworthy sources is the best way to avoid scams.
BBB recommends beginning with these organizations:
- BBB Military and Veteran Consumer Information. BBB Military and Veteran Consumer Information offer free consumer education and financial literacy resources for military families and veterans.
- U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (V.A.). VA.gov, the official website for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, is a hub for materials on every aspect that may impact the transition to civilian life. Information on education benefits, pensions and life insurance can all be found on the Veterans Affairs official website.
- Veteran Employment Services Office (VESO). VESO offers career opportunity resources within the Department of Veterans Affairs, assisting in the transition from active duty to civilian life.
- USA Military Assistance. Like the V.A., USA Military Assistance provides guidance in a wide variety of areas. For those on active duty, military tax guidance and free credit monitoring can also be found at usa.gov/Military-Assistance.
- Veterans Health Administration. An extension of the V.A., the Veterans Health Administration is a health care system specifically for veterans. The administration also offers resources for veterans during the COVID-19 crisis.
For tips on how to avoid employment scams, visit BBB.org/jobscams. To report a scam, go to BBB.org/ScamTracker. For more information about BBB’s Military and Veterans Initiative and consumer resources, visit BBB.org/Military.