Protecting Veterans Against Fraud, Scams

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Veterans Day is this Saturday, and while many will honor those who have served, there are unfortunately some who will try to take advantage of our veterans.

AARP of South Dakota says this is a common time for scams that target veterans.

“It’s not necessarily that veterans are more susceptible to it,” said Erik Gaikowski AARP State Director. “It’s just that time of year where we see a lot more veteran fraud happening.”

A majority of scams that target veterans go after their VA Benefits.

“They call it a benefits cash back scheme where the bad guys are trying to convince veterans to give up some of their benefits for a small amount of money at the upfront part,” said Attorney General Marty Jackley.

There’s also a “military updated file scam” where veterans are contacted by fraudsters and asked to provide their personal information and codes.

Attorney General Marty Jackley is teaming up with AARP’S Fraud Watch Network to confront veterans about the scams and what they can do to prevent themselves from falling victim to one.

“If it’s a call hang up. If you don’t recognize the phone number, let it go to voicemail. If it’s an email don’t answer it. If it’s not someone that you know or don’t really trust, don’t click on any links don’t open any attachments,” said Gaikowski.

There are also online resources available from AARP to keep on top of scams in the area, including an interactive fraud map to track what scams are happening where. (Link: https://action.aarp.org/site/SPageNavigator/FraudMap.html)

“That’s why we are doing this; it’s really a matter of protecting those who have served us for so many years. We see it as one of our duties to see that people are aware of the frauds that are out there,” said Gaikowski.

He says while it may seem embarrassing, anyone who may have fallen victim to a scam is suggested to report it.

Details on where to report here: https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2016/how-to-report-fraud-file-complaints.html