Scammers aren’t just targeting civilians; they want their hands on the hard-earned benefits of our veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Let us stand together to safeguard the well-being of our veterans and honor their sacrifice by keeping them safe from financial exploitation and scams. Learn how to spot and avoid a scam. 

Here are some ways to know you’re dealing with a scammer.


How scammers operate

While scammers target their victims in a variety of ways, they’re tactics are similar. They will call, text, email, or contact you through social media, pretending to be someone you trust while trying to convince you to send them money or provide your personal details, such as social security number or account login credentials.

  • Scammers may pretend to be from a government agency telling you that you owe a fine or they can help you qualify for additional benefits (for a fee, of course).
  • Fraudsters may ask you donate to a charity that claims to support veterans and their families (which is does not).
  • They may pretend to be military themselves to earn your trust, and they’ve perused your social media to learn specific details they can share to convince you.
  • They may disguise themselves as a staff member from your bank, insurance company or other service agency, requesting login credentials to verify you, but they’re really stealing personal information to steal your money or identity.


How scammers ask you to pay

No matter the story, the request for money is the same. The only way to pay is by cash, gift card, cryptocurrency, payment app or wire transfer – payment methods that are nearly impossible to get back your money.  If you receive a request to pay immediately or send money using one of the above payment methods, DON’T.


How to spot and avoid a scam

Here are some red flags to look for when you receive a call, text or email.


  • Is the message unsolicited?
    If you didn’t request the message or alert, nor were you made aware of one coming, be overly cautious. Don’t trust caller ID or think the call is safe because it is from a local number. Don’t answer the phone and let the caller leave a message.

    Avoid the scam: Always verify the organization and individual before you do or say anything. Don’t trust their word. Do your research. Call the government agency, charitable organization or service agency using the phone number from their official website or directory listing (not the site or from the link the caller provided you). Now you can safely verify the message before you decide if you need to call them back.
  • Is the message from a public email domain?  
    Legitimate organizations will have their own domain name. Be careful of messages claiming to be government or service agencies that come from @gmail or @yahoo, for example. If you’re checking your email on your phone or computer, to see the full URL, simply tap the sender’s name to see full details.

    ​Avoid the scam: It is a good idea to familiarize yourself with the domains of your regular memberships and account alerts, so you can easily spot a fake. And again, verify, verify, verify who you are actually dealing with.

    Example If I'm checking my email on my phone and I want to verify the domain name, I would open the message and click the sender’s name. This opens a box with the full details. 

    To check the full URL on your phone, find the sender's name and click on it 

    To check the full URL on your phone, click on the sender's name to see the full details
  • Is the message or caller asking for immediate payment or quick action?
    Be suspicious of anyone asking you for immediate payment or pressuring you to act fast. Scammers know you will be quick to act, if you’re acting in fear. They’ll lead into a state of anxiety and then ask you for your personal information or tell you to click on a link to stop an unwanted transaction. Fear tactics are not how legitimate organizations operate. They also will not call you up unsolicited and ask for personal credentials or account details.

    Avoid the scam: If you are feeling pressured to act, stop and take a breath. If it is telling you something is wrong with an account, login to your account through the official website, not the link they provided you, and do some research. Never give out your personal information or financial details to or through unsolicited or unknown contacts.


Stay informed on common scams

The best way to avoid a scam is to stay informed on current scams. The Federal Trade Commission offers resources to help you learn more about imposter scams targeting veterans and servicemembers.


If you suspect a scam

Or, if you have been victimized by a veterans-related scam, file a complaint with the FTC at


This article is intended for information purposes only. The information provided does not constitute professional or legal advice. For more infromation on verteran-related scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission website,