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State AG warns of scams targeting veterans

In News, State by OC Monitor Staff

FRANKFORT, Ky. — As we honor our nation’s heroes on Veterans Day, Governor-elect, Attorney General Andy Beshear has issued a Scam Alert to warn of common scams that frequently target veterans, active-duty service members, reservists and military families.

Beshear said the warning is necessary given a recent AARP study determined more veterans are targeted by con artists and fall victim to fraud compared to nonveterans. Approximately 78% of veterans report receiving a scam attempt in the last five years seeking to take advantage of their military veteran status.

“This Veterans Day I urge Kentuckians to join me in paying our respects to those who have served,” Beshear said. “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 county.”

According to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs, there are more than 300,000 veterans in Kentucky who could be the target of scams.

Beshear said the AARP study helped determine the most common scams targeted at veterans and tips on how to avoid them, which include:

Charitable Donations

Scam: Con artists claim to be veterans or service members collecting charitable donations to support other veterans and veteran causes.

Tip: Verify all charities before donating and never send cash, wire money, pay in gift cards or use other untraceable methods of payment. Donors not familiar with a charitable organization can verify official organizations on CharityNavigator.org. Visit the Attorney General’s website to find additional research tools.

Military Discounts and Free Programs

Scam: Discounts on taxes, rent, prescription drugs and even medical bills. Scammers target veterans claiming to offer military discounts or access to free goods and services through special government programs. These programs are typically a disguise for a scam.

Tip: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many legitimate organizations do offer genuine discounts for veterans, but first research offers online and with the Better Business Bureau to ensure they are legitimate. Never provide sensitive personal or financial information in exchange for a “discount.”

U.S. Soldier Impersonation

Scam: A variety of veteran-specific scams appear as someone pretending to be a U.S. soldier and claiming they need financial help or are looking to sell goods and services for a cheap price. The scammers go as far as to open fake social media accounts and use stolen names and photos of actual U.S. soldiers.

Tip: Soldiers and their families are encouraged to actively search social media sites to see if a scammer is using their name and information. Soldiers should also conduct a Google image 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 flyer that provides resources to help stop fake profiles.

For a complete list of the top-10 veteran-specific scams and information on how to avoid them visit, ag.ky.gov/veterans. To report a scam, contact the Attorney General’s Office at 888-432-9257 and file a complaint online.

The Attorney General has worked to protect veterans and their families from scams and fraud.

In May, Attorney General Andy Beshear joined a bipartisan group of 51 attorneys general urging the U.S. Department of Education to automatically forgive the student loans of veterans who became totally and permanently disabled in connection with their military service. In August, the federal government announced they would do so.

Last year, Beshear announced Kentucky was part of a national law enforcement sweep resulting in more than 100 actions against scammers who claimed to be collecting charitable donations for veterans and service members.