Jul.18, 2019

Debt.com recognizes Military Consumer Month ‒ with a warning

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., July 18, 2019 — July is Military Consumer Month and the focus is on imposter scams. As the Federal Trade Commission has said, “Last year, imposter scams once again topped the list of frauds that military consumers reported to the FTC.”

The FTC is encouraging the financial and military media to focus on imposter scams, which it says totaled more than 36,000 complaints and cost each of its victims around $900.

Hey, guys. The United States offers many financial perks to our enlisted men and women, and sadly that attracts a lot of scammers. These con artists know our military personnel are targets, and they keep developing sophisticated scams.

One of the biggest problems lately are called “imposter scams.” They’re like a plague on our military personnel. Here’s just one example: You get a call from this number, that’s actually the number of the real Social Security Administration. The person on the other end says you Social Security number is about to be suspended, because maybe you were out of the country on deployment. “You need to verify you Social Security number and all your personal information.”

They tell you that if you don’t get the required information, you could lose all your Social Security benefits and maybe even face paying a huge fine.” Sounds scary, right?

Those scammers have the technology to spoof other phone numbers. That means they can make your caller ID pop with all kinds of legitimate numbers – even when they’re not.

Here’s what you need to know: The Social Security Administration never calls you with threats, neither does the IRS or any other government agency. In fact, no one who’s legitimate – either in the government or in business – will call you with threats and demand that you surrender any of your personal information.

Remember: Name, rank, and serial number. Well, you should give even less information to anyone who calls asking you for any of your personal data. What should you do? Ask for a phone number and an extension to call back. With the prevalence of identity theft scams, every real business and government agency understands this, and should not hesitate to give you that information.

So, go to war against scammers – and never surrender your personal information. Thank you for your service!

When Debt.com Chairman Howard Dvorkin drilled down on the FTC’s numbers, he found something interesting: Military personnel lose almost twice as much as everyone else to imposter scams. The FTC said in 2018, all consumers “reported a median loss of $500” to imposter scams much less than the median loss of $900 for military personnel. So why is the military suffering more than the citizens it protects?

“Crooks go where the money is, and the military’s benefits draw them like moths to a flame,” Dvorkin says. “Remember, if you get called or emailed by someone demanding your personal information, be wary. No governmental agency threatens you with dire consequences if you don’t surrender personal details over the phone.”

This week, Dvorkin answered a Debt.com reader question about the military and money, and he cautioned about imposter scams: “Just like any other arms race, these bad guys keep developing sophisticated weapons. So every time we shut them down, they keep popping back up, like cockroaches.”

Once those crooks acquire enough personal information to steal your identity, they can steal your money. Dvorkin concludes, “When it comes to military ID theft, remember: Don’t ever give out your name, rank, and serial number. Offer to call back those agencies at their number.”

Debt.com helps military personnel get out of debt and stay there. Dvorkin advises military personnel to read the report, Making Debt Consolidation Simple for Service Members and Veterans. The site also provides options for debt relief for services members and veterans, as well as military loan forgiveness for student loans.

About: Debt.com is the consumer website where people can find help with credit card debt, student loan debt, tax debt, credit repair, bankruptcy, and more. Debt.com works with vetted and certified providers that give the best advice and solutions for consumers ‘when life happens.’