1. Nigerian scams. Two well-known variations of the Nigerian scams, which try to fool people into handing over money, use the military as a cover story. The original Nigerian email scam in which the crook claims to have access to money or valuables they want you to help smuggle out of the country, pretends to be from a soldier on active duty who has discovered a secret stash. This was more common during the days of the war in Iraq but it’s still out there. Now posing as lonely-heart servicemen or veterans in search of love they’ll try to scam you by saying they need money to help get them out of the service or start a business. Take Action: Both variations require you to pay money upfront. Don’t!
2. Charity fundraising. These scams pop up at any time of the year but especially on Veterans Day or other military occasions and usually solicit funds they claim will go to veterans’ charities. Sometimes, they actually do — but often only a tiny amount is passed on, keeping the fundraising activity inside the law. Other times they’re just plain shams — keeping all the money for themselves. Take Action: Be very wary about donating to any charity unless you know the collector or make the donation directly to a veterans’ organization you know or have checked out. Bogus charities often use official sounding names, using words like “veterans” and “foundation” to try to convince you of their status. If you want to know more about a charity’s credentials and how it spends its money, check out Charity Navigator. ( http://www.charitynavigator.org/)
3. Bogus selling. This veteran scam can take a number of forms. Most commonly, a door-to-door solicitor claims to be a vet or to be working for an organization that supports veterans. They appeal to your sympathies to buy from them but, again, the amount of money they get (if they genuinely are veterans) or the amount donated to charity is small in relation to the amount you hand over. The other common trick appears in online auction and classified ad sites in which a scammer claims to be in active military service, heading for an overseas assignment. So, they say, they are selling their car, or some other high priced item, really cheap for a quick sale. In reality, they have nothing to sell. Take Action: These con artists usually want you to wire payment or use a phony escrow service. Don’t send money to someone you don’t know and haven’t checked out thoroughly