Better Business Bureau: Beware of Memorial Day Scams
The Better Business Bureau says that crooks use this time of year to take advantage of victims in a variety of schemes with a patriotic or military approach.
Memorial Day is fast approaching, which means that many people are gearing up for the unofficial start of summer. Most importantly, Memorial Day is an opportunity to honor those who lost their lives for our country.
Unfortunately, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) claims that crooks use this time of year to take advantage of victims in a variety of schemes with a patriotic or military approach.
Specifically, the Better Business Bureau warns of the following types of scams typically directed at service members:
Expensive military loans: Advertisements for loans that promise collateral, instant approval, or no credit checks will often come with hidden fees and extremely high interest rates. Keep in mind that legitimate lenders will never guarantee a loan before you apply, and loans that require an upfront fee are likely a scam.
Veterans Benefits Buyback Plans: This buyback plan will offer a cash payment in exchange for future benefits or pension payments from a disabled veteran. The BBB says the cash amount is only about 30-40% of what the veteran is entitled to. These buyout plans can be structured in a number of different ways, so do your research thoroughly before signing anything.
False rental properties: Stolen photos of legitimate rental properties are used in advertisements that promise military discounts and other incentives. Service members will have to pay a bank transfer fee for security payments or a key to the property – in the end, they will not receive anything.
Deceptive Car Sales: Websites displaying classified ads will either offer bogus discounts for military personnel or pretend to be from soldiers who need to sell their vehicles quickly since deployment. An initial charge will be charged by bank transfer, or the vehicle will have problems after purchase.
Expensive life insurance policies: The military is often the target of high pressure sales arguments that offer unnecessary and expensive life insurance policies. Lawyers can make false claims regarding the benefits offered by these policies.
The BBB recommends the following tips to avoid scams:
Do your research. Get as much information as possible about a business or charity before you pay or donate. A good start to your research would be to check a company’s BBB business profile and / or see if the BBB has a report on the charity.
Never transfer money to someone you don’t know. Money sent by wire transfer is virtually impossible to track. Pay or donate by credit card whenever possible, as you can dispute the charge more easily.
Protect your computer. Do not click on links contained in unsolicited emails. Do not enter personal information on unknown websites. Make sure you have updated antivirus software installed and use a firewall at all times.
Put an Active Duty alert on your credit reports once deployed. This will minimize the risk of identity theft as creditors and businesses cannot issue or extend credit until they have verified the identity.
To track and report scams in your area, visit BBB Scam Tracker.
For more information on businesses and charities you can trust, visit BBB.org.
BBB Military Line provides free resources, such as financial literacy information, access to BBB services, scam alerts, and complaint and dispute resolution for all branches of the U.S. military.