OKLAHOMA CITY – Our In Your Corner team has an important warning for our veterans, active military members, and their families: the Better Business Bureau released the findings of a new study that says our brave men and women are more vulnerable to fraud than the average consumer.
In 2018, military consumers reported nearly 5 thousand scams and close to 30 thousand business complaints to the Better Business Bureau, with an average loss of 200 bucks, slightly higher than the general population.
Some of the most common schemes reported were employment & car scams.
Sonya retired from Tinker Air Force Base after 30 years.
The scammer tricked her into thinking he was an Airman stationed in Michigan selling a Toyota Camry through the Army and Air Force Exchange, a service that offers savings and tax-free shopping on military bases, which Sonya was familiar with.
“He said we’ll use the exchange as a third party because that will protect me on my end and it will protect your money,” she recalled.
Sonya was a sitting duck, defrauded out of thousands of dollars.
She’s not alone.
Military personnel are often targeted by scammers online claiming to offer government grants, and special military discounts on everything from cars and jobs, to warranties and rental homes.
The big chunk of the cybercriminals come from African countries and the Caribbean.
According to the BBB, employment scams rank as the number one riskiest for military consumers.
On average last year, they lost nearly $2500 dollars, more than double that of all consumers.
One big reason why is military members move a lot and make quicker purchasing decisions than the general population.
It can also be difficult for spouses and other family members to find steady employment.