They Protected Us. NOW IT'S OUR TURN.

Veterans deserve many things: Praise. Honor. Security. Respect. Here’s what they don’t deserve: attempts to take advantage of their service. Yet every day, scammers attempt to swindle our veterans of their hard-earned benefits, steal their identity, take their life savings, and worse.

According to an AARP survey, veterans are more likely to fall victim to scams as the population at large. In addition, the survey found that most military/veteran adults were targeted by scams directly related to their military service or the benefits they receive. Some scammers offer veterans the opportunity to refinance Veterans Affairs (VA) loans at extremely low rates. Others will pose as government agencies in order to access personal information, or offer lump sum payments up front, in exchange for signing over all their future monthly benefit checks. There have even been instances where scammers have created fake charities that target veterans or pretend to be old friends offering “sure thing” investments.

Why are veterans targeted more frequently by these particular scams?

For starters, veterans implicitly trust fellow members of the military, making them more receptive to imposters claiming to be veterans themselves. Sometimes, because of their military experiences, veterans also find it more difficult to recognize and combat the emotional manipulation used by scam artists.

This is why the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and AARP joined forces to create Operation Protect Veterans, – to provide valuable information and resources that veterans, their loved ones, and their friends can use to help protect against scammers.

Together, we can fight back and take one small step to repay our veterans for the service they’ve given and the sacrifices they’ve made.

Download the Operation Protect Veterans brochure: English | Spanish

TABLE OF CONTENTS: Veteran Scams | Videos | Partner Resources | TIPS

Common Scams Targeting Veterans

  • "Secret" Veteran Benefits Scam

    Scammers, often posing as a government agency, contact veterans about “little known” government benefits and offer to help them sign up after collecting their personal identifiable information (PII) or charging a fee.

  • Fake Charitable Giving Request

    Scammers make fraudulent claims about charities benefitting wounded service members.

  • Benefits Buyout Offer

    Scammers take advantage of veterans in need by offering a quick upfront buyout – usually at a fraction of the value – of future disability or pension payments.

  • Veterans Affairs (VA) Loan Scams

    Scammers offer to refinance Veterans Affairs loans at extremely low rates for a fee.

  • Bogus Employment Scam

    Scammers post fake job descriptions to collect personal information from a veteran’s job application, or they charge an employment fee.

  • Fraudulent Records Offer

    Scammers try to charge veterans a fee to access military records or government forms—information that is actually available for free through the National Archives (for military records) and or local Veterans Affairs offices (for forms).

  • Veterans Affairs (VA) Phishing Scam

    Scammers send deceptive emails that appear to be from the Veterans Affairs Department to collect personal identifiable information (PII).

  • Update Your File Scam

    An imposter claiming to be from a government agency attempts to get a veteran’s personal information to “update their file” so they can maintain their benefits.

  • Aid and Attendance Scam

    Veterans (or their family members) receive an offer to move their assets into a living trust so that they can qualify for financial assisted-living benefits.

  • Veterans Choice Program Scam

    Scammers set up a phone number nearly identical to the number veterans dial to find out if they are eligible to use approved health care providers outside of the Veterans Affairs system. Veterans call the fake number and a message prompts them to leave their credit card information in return for a rebate. Make sure to dial the correct number for the VCP: 866-606-8198.

  • GI Bill Education Marketing Scam

    Scammers use deceptive marketing tactics and provide false information to push expensive for-profit educational institutions to veterans seeking to take advantage of the GI Bill for college courses.  The Veterans Affairs offers a comparison tool to help you locate a school and determine your benefits. Visit

  • Special Deals for Veterans Scam

    Scammers offer special discounts for veterans on a range of products, like loans and car purchases, but the products aren’t discounted at all, or they don’t actually exist.

  • Rental Scam

    A scammer posts a fake rental property on a classified ad website offering discounts for active duty military and veterans. Once they have your security deposit, you find out there is no rental property and your money is gone.

  • Romance/”Catfishing” Scams

    Scammers steal a veteran’s photo and create a phony profile on a dating site to “catfish” singles looking for love.

  • Grandparent Scam

    A scammer uses artificial intelligence to pose as a distressed grandchild in need of bail money or help paying a lawyer’s fee.

  • Tech Support Scam

    You get a message or email saying there is a virus on your computer and you have to pay to remove it.

  • IRS Imposter Scam

    Someone calls or leaves threatening messages claiming to be from the IRS and you owe them money.

  • Fix Credit Rating Scam

    You receive unsolicited offers to fix or boost your credit rating for a fee after they collect your personal identifiable information (PII).

Scammer Steals Over $2 MILLION From Veterans

Scammer Steals Over $2 MILLION From Veterans

Military Appreciation Month is a time to honor the brave veterans whose service has protected our freedoms. Sadly scammers target them in order to steal the benefits & income they deserve. Learn how one woman stole more than $2 MILLION from elderly veterans in a fake benefits scam.

Veterans Day 2022 PSA

Veterans Day 2022 PSA

Our veterans deserve the highest honor and utmost respect that our nation can give them for sacrifices made in service to our country. These brave men and women are the definition of the word “heroes”. In response to the growing number of scams targeting veterans, we partnered with AARP to create Operation Protect Veterans - a crime prevention program designed to provide resources to veterans and military families nationwide to combat these fraud schemes targeting them.

Military Records Scam PSA

Military Records Scam PSA

Help a veteran you know by learning about the military records scam.

Esquema de Fraude de Archivos Militares

Esquema de Fraude de Archivos Militares

Military Charity Scam PSA


Military Charity Scam PSA

2021 VA Loan Scam PSA

2021 VA Loan Scam PSA

Scammers are targeting veterans with bogus VA loan refinancing offers. Help spread the word to help those who served us.

Esquema de Fraude de Prestamos del VA

Esquema de Fraude de Prestamos del VA

Los estafadores están victimizando a los veteranos con falsas ofertas de refinanciamiento de préstamos del VA. Ayuda a difundir el mensaje para ayudar aquellos que nos sirvieron.

Pension Poaching Scam PSA

Pension Poaching Scam PSA

Veterans are being scammed into signing over future disability/pension payments in exchange for a lump-sum payout that's a fraction of their actual worth.

Esquema de Fraude Compra de Beneficios

Esquema de Fraude Compra de Beneficios

Los veteranos son estafados al firmar sus pagos futuros de incapacidad/pensión en cambio de un pago en efectivo, único y total, que son una fracción del valor total de los beneficios.

Secret Veterans Benefits Scam PSA

Secret Veterans Benefits Scam PSA

Have you or a veteran you know been contacted about "secret" government benefits for a fee? It's a scam!

Military Appreciation Month PSA

Military Appreciation Month PSA

Our Operation Protect Veterans campaign wants you to help protect the veterans you know and love by becoming educated about scams targeting them & spreading the word.

Mes de Aprecio Militar 2021

Mes de Aprecio Militar 2021

Mayo es el mes de Aprecio Militar y los veteranos ocupan tu ayuda. Los estafadores están victimizándolos y robándoles su dinero.

  • It’s Our Turn to Protect Vets Targeted by Carroll Harris

    In a piece published by Stars and Stripes, read as Inspector Carroll Harris discusses the continuous efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service to protect America’s veterans from the devastating effects of scams and fraud.

    During my time in the U.S. Marine Corps — which included serving on active duty in Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom — I saw the bravery and sacrifice our nation’s veterans made firsthand, including the ultimate sacrifice of their lives. I’m also currently a postal inspector with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and throughout my 16 years in law enforcement, I, and other postal inspectors have seen how our veterans have been victimized by scammers.

    When you think about the unique knowledge veterans possess concerning Department of Veterans Affairs programs and other benefits that are exclusive to them, as well as the fact that veterans share a unique and special bond with each other, it’s not surprising that research conducted by AARP shows veterans are twice as likely to be victims of scams as members of the general public. Simply put, they’re too lucrative a target to ignore.

    While this and other statistics provide the facts, they don’t convey the real impact and devastation on our nation’s veterans. Postal inspectors like me, as well as other federal, state and local law enforcement professionals, have witnessed veterans lose their life savings and even their homes as a result of these scams. Another dimension to this is that many of these veterans are elderly, and in addition to not being able to make up the financial ground they lose, they fear losing their independence if they report these scams, which only serves to give the scammers vital cover to target more veterans.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 18 million veterans in the U.S. Most of us either have a veteran or veterans in our family, or we know someone who has served. Think of the impact on them and the people who love and care about them if they were to be taken advantage of by scammers.

    Along with most Americans, I was brought up to believe that if someone does something good for you, you should at least make an attempt to reciprocate. While the freedom and security our nation’s veterans have given all of us is an enormous gift, there is something each of us can do to, at least in some small way, repay them. As May is Military Appreciation Month, I challenge everyone to not only use this month as an opportunity to thank our nation’s veterans for their service, but also use it as the start of your efforts to get educated on scams targeting veterans and then spread the word in order to both help and protect them and to stop the scammers in their tracks.

    The good news is that many of the things we postal inspectors tell ordinary Americans to do in order to protect themselves from scams also applies to veterans. This includes not giving out personal information over the phone. Don’t be pressured to act immediately. Don’t act on any offer before checking it out with a trusted family member, friend or local Veterans Affairs office. Always keep in mind the saying that if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    I ask all people, if you haven’t already, to encourage and support a veteran who has been targeted by scammers to step forward and report it to law enforcement, so you can “have your buddy’s back,” and prevent veterans from becoming targets.

    Our nation’s veterans have protected us. Let this Military Appreciation Month be the catalyst to help protect them.

    Carroll Harris has over 29 years of government service, including with the U.S. Marine Corps and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service.
    Published by Stars and Stripes | May 7, 2021

Five Ways to Protect Veterans & Military Families — Webinar with AARP and FTC

Inspector Carrol Harris joins USPIS partners to discuss Operation Protect Veterans and the many ways veterans and military families can avoid being targeted by scammers. Follow this link to register (it’s free) and view the recording of the live webinar. Follow USPIS on Twitter and Facebook to be notified of future events.

Operation Protect Veterans

Operation Protect Veterans - Veterans Scam PSA

Thanks to all those veterans who have served to keep us safe and free. Help show your gratitude by becoming informed about scams targeting them and spreading the word.

Senate Special Committee On Aging – Operation Protect Veterans

Senate Special Committee On Aging - Operation Protect Veterans

Postal Inspector Carroll Harris testified before the Senate Special Committee about Operation Protect Veterans, and how the Inspection Service works hard every day to protect those who protected us. Here are the highlights of the testimony.

Target: Veterans

Target: Veterans

This veteran was lured into a scheme by trying to obtain government benefits. Watch to learn more about investment scams.


  • Don’t give personal information


    Don’t give any personal information over the phone. This includes bank account numbers, credit card numbers and your Social Security number.


  • Don’t send money


    Don’t send or wire money, gift cards, cryptocurrency, or use peer-to-peer payment methods to send funds to anyone you don’t know well.


  • Don’t feel pressured


    Don’t be pressured to act immediately. If you are dealing with a legitimate outfit, they won’t try to pressure you to act before having a chance to check it out and think about it. If they do, just say “no” and hang up.


  • Consult a friend


    Check out the offer with a trusted family member, friend or your local veteran’s affairs office before acting.


  • Check the security


    Verify any charity asking for money before sending it. There are several online services veterans can use, such as the Better Business BureauCharity NavigatorCharityWatch and GuideStar.


  • Do your homework


    Get credible information on how to qualify for veterans’ benefits by contacting your state veterans’ affairs agency. Visit, and click on “Links.”


Partner Resources

AARP Fraud Watch Network

AARP Veterans Fraud Center

AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline: Fraud can be reported by calling the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360.

AARP VMF Fraud Scams Report: Military Veterans Battle Surprise Attacks from Scams & Fraud

VA Privacy Service External Website: VA Privacy Service maintains a public website with information about VA Privacy initiatives, Privacy at VA, and strategies for safeguarding sensitive personal information during the pandemic and while traveling, protecting children when online, avoiding potential fraud, scams, and more.

VA Privacy Identity Theft Website: Offers a more comprehensive set of information to prevent Veteran identity theft. Recently, the content was updated and enhanced, and the design was completely refreshed to offer a better user experience. Veterans and employees alike now have access to a large range of prevention tips, including how to know when your identity has been stolen and what to do about it. Additionally, they can find identity theft prevention tips while traveling, while online shopping, and for parents to use to keep their children safe while online.

VA Privacy Fact Sheet

VMF Fraud Booklet: Common Scams Targeting Veterans & Military Families — and How to Stay Safe


Justice begins with you. If you’ve encountered any scams targeting veterans or have been a victim yourself and the U.S. Mail® has been used in any way, we want to help. Please report the crime.