Service members and their families make enormous sacrifices for our nation, but the unique demands of their service can often leave them vulnerable to fraud and predatory financial practices. With this month being Military Consumer Protection Month – Attorney General Jeff Landry is urging all active duty service members, reserve members and veterans in Louisiana to learn more about fraud, scams, identity theft and unscrupulous businesses.
“It is despicable that anyone would seek to take advantage of those who sacrifice so much for our liberty and freedoms,” said Attorney General Landry. “As a proud veteran and the State’s chief legal officer, I will continue doing all that I can to protect our military community from being exploited.”
One recent success by Attorney General Landry on this front is the permanent injunction his office obtained against a Louisiana-based company and its owners who misrepresented to veterans, their spouses and their family members that they were experts qualified to assist veterans with preparing and submitting their claims for benefits to the VA.
As his Louisiana Department of Justice continues to defend against devious and illegal schemes, Attorney General Landry encourages all service members and veterans to review the following tips to help avoid military-related scams:· Take your time. Any deal that pressures you to act immediately probably will not end well for you. Slow down and think about it – rushing into a supposed “deal” will usually just buy you trouble.
· Listen for the name game. Beware of scammers using misleading photos or language to imply a false association with a branch of the military.
· Verify authenticity of emails and texts. Phishing schemes use manipulated messages that falsely appear to be from a military branch or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Look out for deceptive domains and spellings in the sender’s email address, unusual grammar or phrases, messages sent at odd times, sense of urgency to respond, and links in messages that redirect to unexpected websites.
· Do your homework. Research charities at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website at www.give.org.
· Get it in writing. Before you open your wallet, ask for and carefully review the written terms of the deal. If the terms are not what you expected, how can you trust that company?
· Plan ahead. Place an active duty alert on credit reports at no cost. An active duty alert requires businesses to take additional steps before granting credit in the name of active-duty personnel serving overseas.