Veterans Notes: How to spot pension-poaching scammers and report financial fraud
You and your family should be aware of the threat of scams, such as pension-poaching, even if you’re not currently receiving a pension. It’s important to recognize fraud so you can protect yourself.
Have scammers tried to take advantage of you or a loved one? Financial scammers often target veterans, especially those who may be isolated, physically or mentally disabled, and unfamiliar with handling their finances, or have recently lost a spouse.
They may try to exploit you or your family to steal money, property or personal information.
Potential warning signs: If you are a veteran, you and your family should be aware of the threat of scams, such as pension-poaching, even if you’re not currently receiving a pension. It’s important to recognize fraud so you can protect yourself, if necessary.
Often, scammers will send fake emails, calls or texts claiming to be from VA, a military charity or even a financial adviser who can help you receive benefits, such as pension payments. They may offer to restructure your finances so you appear to be eligible for additional benefits, or even try to charge you for fraudulent services.
- When facing potential scams, you should be on the lookout for warning signs, including:
- Charging money for free records and services.
- Advertising exclusive deals for veterans.
- Using high-pressure requests.
- Providing investment advice.
- Using poor spelling and grammar.
- Requiring upfront payment.
- Suspicious-looking email addresses.
- Requests for personally identifiable information (such as Social Security number, date of birth, bank account numbers, etc.)
If you do receive a suspicious call, hang up and call VA’s National Call Center at 1-800-827-1000.
Report suspicious activity. If you spot a potential scammer, please report them to the Office of Inspector General (OIG) at va.gov/oig/hotline. VA’s OIG is dedicated to preventing and investigating cases of fraud and abuse targeting veterans and their beneficiaries.
If you feel you’ve been the victim of a dishonest financial planner, or someone is operating dishonestly, you can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission at www.consumercomplaints.ftc.gov. As always, please see your local County Veterans Service Officer if you have any questions. You can contact your local VSO at (218) 631-7617 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org – and as always, have a great week!