Military veterans gather across the country today (Mon.) for ceremonies that honor their service, but scam artists may use the occasion to rob them of their savings. According to an A-A-R-P survey, 16-percent of U-S veterans have lost money to fraudsters, while 72-percent have been targeted by scams specifically designed to exploit their service history.
Associate state director of communications and outreach for AARP South Dakota Leah Ganschow says the scammers tend to be opportunists, and may use the holiday to contact veterans asking for donations to nonexistent charities.
To avoid being scammed, Ganschow says it’s important to know that federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration, always contact people by mail – not by phone. She notes that after one veteran had money withdrawn from his bank account without permission, A-A-R-P and the U-S Postal Inspection Service launched “Operation Protect Veterans,” to keep track of schemes and scams and pinpoint which states are being targeted.
Tomorrow (Tues.), South Dakota Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg joins A-A-R-P for a telephone town hall to hear from residents about scams they’ve experienced and answer questions about fraud. The 2 p-m (CDT) call goes out to A-A-R-P members who have opted in, but anyone is welcome on the call. More information is online at ‘aarp.org/sd.’
People also can contact the organization for information about the Fraud Watch Network, as well as care-giving resources for veterans, including benefits and retirement planning.