Posted on Tuesday, November 8, 2016 at 3:20 pm
NASHVILLE – As the state and nation prepare to honor those who have served in the armed forces this Veterans Day, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) reminds Tennesseans about financial scams targeting veterans and how they can be avoided.
“Unfortunately, scammers often set their sights on military families,” said TDCI Assistant Commissioner Frank Borger-Gilligan. “While TDCI and our partnering agencies work hard to investigate and take action against these con artists, we urge Tennesseans to be familiar with the red flags that can help identify and prevent scams against veterans.”
While scammers may target veterans for a number of reasons, major factors include their steady, guaranteed income and their prolonged time away from home for deployments.
TDCI offers the following scam prevention tips from Military OneSource to help aid veterans and their families:
- Be wary of up-front fees. Scammers often say that they can help you access your benefits or get a good interest rate on a loan if you provide them an upfront fee. If you encounter this, remember that the military offers legal assistance, interest-free emergency loans and financial planning tools. Ask your military installation offices for details.
- Always find out what the total price is. Scammers hide the true cost of a product through numerous installment payments. They can offer misleading information about how much something really costs once all the payments and fees are added up. If the total price is too high, take your business elsewhere.
- Don’t trust promises about the future. Some scammers will promise changes to the terms of the loan that will occur in the future. Before handing over any money, make sure that everyone agrees to the final terms of a deal.
- Find out with whom you are dealing. Some scam artists will portray themselves as something they are not in order to get your business. They‘ll say something like, “I’m a veteran of the armed forces,” to try to gain your trust. If you are worried about validity of the
salesperson, ask your installation community service office about the company or individual. You can also contact the Better Business Bureau.
- Be wary of house calls and telemarketers. If an individual comes to your door or calls your house promising assistance with accessing your Department of Veterans Affairs benefits, you should be wary of the validity of their service. The VA doesn’t generally make house calls, and it doesn’t participate in telemarketing. These scammers are not at your door to provide a public service or reward you for your military service. They want your personal information and access to your financial accounts. Information and access to all your VA benefits are available online through the Department of Veterans Affairs. All military personnel and veterans can register for access to a variety of information to help you understand your business.
If you suspect that you might be a victim of securities or insurance fraud, or if you would like to file a complaint or speak with an investigator, please contact the Tennessee Securities Division – Financial
Services Investigations Unit at (615) 741-5900. To file a complaint online, visit https://tn.gov/commerce/article/securities-file-a-complaint