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Veterans Day Scams: Protecting Those Who've Served

AARP and the U.S. Postal Service are teaming up for Operation Protect Veterans, to warn those who have served about current schemes and scams. (Ed Schipul/Flickr)
AARP and the U.S. Postal Service are teaming up for Operation Protect Veterans, to warn those who have served about current schemes and scams. (Ed Schipul/Flickr)
November 12, 2018

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Those who have helped protect America through their military service, now may need some protection of their own.

Military veterans are more often victimized by fraud than non-veterans, according to Charles Wagener, volunteer state president of AARP in Arkansas.

He says an AARP survey found veterans who are taken advantage of by scammers typically have experienced negative life events such as debt, family problems or injury.

Wagener says scammers are quick to use those vulnerabilities to target a veteran's wallet and commitment to the military.

"These go all the way from benefits fraud, relating to their Veterans Affairs benefits, to identify theft and also into other common areas that would affect them, such as rental scams and special deals for veterans," he explains.

Wagener notes the Veterans Administration will never request personal information by phone, email, or text.

According to the survey, 16 percent of veterans have lost money to fraud, compared to 8 percent of non-veterans.

AARP and the U.S. Postal Service are teaming up for Operation Protect Veterans to warn those who have served about current schemes and scams. Those resources are online at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

Wagener says vigilance is crucial to protecting personal information, and he recommends keeping a close eye on all financial accounts.

"Watch for missing bills and review your monthly statements very, very carefully,” he advises. “You can also watch over your credit report.

“Protect your information online. Beware of emails that claim to come from banks and other places. Make sure that these are valid."

All consumers are entitled to one free credit report each year, from each of the nationwide credit bureaus.

Other tips include checking out organizations online at charitynavigator.org before donating money, and only working with a VA-accredited representative when dealing with VA benefits.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - AR