Beware of Scams Targeting the Military

July 21, 2017

Scammers use a variety of tactics to make their offers seem legitimate to military service members. Here are just a few examples to look out for:

Debt collection scams:

Debt collectors often take advantage of the fact that service members are held to a high standard of debt repayment. For example, they may say that service members can lose security clearance and Veterans Administration benefits by not meeting their obligations. They may call or email the service member and demand payment or threaten to impose penalties. Service members should keep track of their obligations and verify the credibility of a lender and the agency they represent before making such a payment.

Affinity marketing scams:

Affinity marketing is a method of selling goods and services by partnerships with similar companies or brands. These scams use military-sounding names or symbols (and may have an ex-military representative) to offer high-cost goods, insurance, debt management, loans, or financial services. These scammers count on military personnel trusting them since they are affiliated with the military as well. Service members should never make a purchase or investment based solely on the advice of an affinity marketer. Ask many questions and make financial decisions using only known and trusted advisers.


Phishing scams trick military service members and other consumers into giving valuable personal information like credit card numbers, bank accounts, Social Security number, and passwords. Scammers engage consumers by getting them to open a spam e-mail or pop-up message. Never click on links sent in unsolicited e-mails. Instead, type in a Web address known to be accurate. Remember, the VA, other government agencies and legitimate businesses do not contact people by e-mail or telephone to ask them for — or to confirm — Social Security numbers or other personal information.