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Consumer Watchdog Warns of Scams Targeting Veterans

The Better Business Bureau is reminding military veterans to be aware of scammers claiming to be from Veterans Affairs. Credit: Ladyheart/Morguefile.com
The Better Business Bureau is reminding military veterans to be aware of scammers claiming to be from Veterans Affairs. Credit: Ladyheart/Morguefile.com
November 11, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. - With the arrival of Veterans Day, consumer watchdogs are warning military veterans to be aware that they often can become the target of scammers.

Con artists sometimes pose as someone from the Veterans Administration and try to get credit-card or bank information, according to the Better Business Bureau of Minnesota and North Dakota. Dan Hendrickson, a spokesman for the bureau, said thieves try all kinds of tactics.

"They'll sometimes charge veterans for services vets can get for free, such as copies of their service records or help signing up for military benefits," he said. "Just a number of different angles kind of designed to play on the fact that military people are often in transition, veterans especially."

The Better Business Bureau has a local Military Line program at bbb.org/minnesota to help Minnesota service members and their families.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Minnesota is home to about 367,000 military veterans, who make on average about $62,000 a year. But the majority of Minnesota's veterans, about 45 percent, are at retirement age or older. Hendrickson said that's a particularly vulnerable group, because many are on fixed incomes.

"Veterans, of course, their life circumstances are changing constantly and they're eligible for pensions and so forth, disability benefits sometimes," he said. "There are people that know this and plan to try and help themselves to some of those funds that these veterans have earned, and it's really important to always be skeptical."

According to the Better Business Bureau's Scam Tracker, more than 100 scams have been reported in the state since January.

The BBB'a Minnesota Military Line is online at BBB.org/Minnesota. Census information on Minnesota veterans is at census.gov.

Brandon Campbell, Public News Service - MN