It’s Military Consumer Month and we’re signal boosting some really great information for servicemembers, veterans, and their families. Truthfully though, these same tips apply even if you don’t happen to identify as a military consumer, so read on!
Why are we doing this? We’re very proud to have many active military and veterans be part of our organization and we want to help protect these valued TDS associates as well as our equally valued military and veteran customers.
The Federal Trade Commission already shared ways military consumers can avoid job scams, but now they’re warning about imposter scams:
Scammers come up with all sorts of stories to convince you to send money or share your information. They might call or send you a text or email, pretending they’re tech support from Microsoft or Apple. They’ll tell you to put money on a gift card or spend cryptocurrency to protect yourself from a security breach. Don’t. It’s a scam.
Scammers also pretend to be government agencies like the IRS or Social Security Administration. They’ll claim that something bad will happen if you don’t pay or give them your personal information. Or they might say you’ll miss out on some government benefit. Either way, that’s a scam.
Here’s how to spot the fakers:
- Know that nobody legit will ever contact you out of the blue, demanding money or information. Hang up. It’s a scam.
- Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers know how to fake caller ID so it looks like a real phone number. Even if it has a real name, don’t trust it.
- Never pay anyone who demands payment by wire transfer, gift card, or cryptocurrency. Only scammers tell you to pay that way. Hang up if it’s a call. If it’s an email, text, or message on social media, don’t click any links.
Consumer Sentinel Network (made up of hundreds of federal, state, local, and foreign agencies) data shows military consumers reported more than 110,000 fraud complaints in 2021. This includes over 44,000 imposter scams that reportedly cost more than $103 million last year alone.
The numbers for members of the military echo larger fraud trends. The Consumer Sentinel Network saw an increase in fraud reports in 2021—and imposter scams were one of the top two types reported. Broadly, imposter scams cost victims more than $2.3 billion.
Even if you think you’d spot a scam, feel free to share this information with your friends, family, and fellow servicemembers and veterans. You can report scams to the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.