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.

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According to an AARP survey, veterans are twice as likely to fall victim to scams as the population at large. 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 will create fake charities that target veterans or pretend to be old friends offering “sure thing” investments.

Why are veterans so susceptible to these particular scams?

For starters, veterans implicitly trust fellow members of the military, making them vulnerable 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.

That’s why the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and AARP joined forces to create Operation Protect Veterans, and 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

  • "Secret" Veteran Benefits Scam

    Veterans are told they qualify for “secret” government programs or benefits that offer thousands of dollars – but first, they attempt to collect personal information or 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.

  • 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 VA.gov or local Veterans Affairs offices (for forms).

  • Veterans Affairs (VA) Phishing Scam

    Scammers pose as Veterans Affairs employees to get access to personal information.

  • 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 www.vets.gov/education/gi-bill.

  • 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.

  • Most Common Scams Targeting Veterans, by State

    Download PDF

    Alaska

    1. Credit Card
    2. Charity
    3. VA Loan/Tech Support

    Alabama

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. Charity

    Arkansas

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Arizona

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    California

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Colorado

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Connecticut

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support/IRS Tax
    3. Charity

    DC

    1. Credit Card/IRS Tax
    2. VA Loan/Tech Support
    3. Phishing/Charity

    Deleware

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Florida

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Georgia

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Hawaii

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Iowa

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Charity

    Idaho

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax/Charity

    Illinois

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Indiana

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Kansas

    1. Tech Support
    2. Credit Card
    3. IRS Tax/Charity

    Kentucky

    1. IRS Tax
    2. Credit Card
    3. Charity

    Louisiana

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Massachusetts

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. Charity

    Maryland

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Maine

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support/IRS Tax
    3. Charity/Other

    Michigan

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Charity

    Minnesota

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Missouri

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Mississippi

    1. Tech Support
    2. Charity/Credit Card
    3. IRS Tax

    Montana

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    North Carolina

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    North Dakota

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. Charity

    Nebraska

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax/Charity

    New Hampshire

    1. Tech Support
    2. Credit Card
    3. IRS Tax

    New Jersey

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    New Mexico

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Nevada

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    New York

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Ohio

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Oklahoma

    1. Tech Support
    2. Credit Card
    3. IRS Tax

    Oregon

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Pennsylvania

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Puerto Rico

    1. Other
    2. Phishing/VA Loan
    3. Credit Card

    Rhode Island

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax/Charity
    3. Tech Support

    South Carolina

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    South Dakota

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Tennessee

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Texas

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Utah

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. Charity

    Virginia

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Tech Support

    Vermont

    1. Tech Support
    2. Credit Card/Charity
    3. IRS Tax

    Washington

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Wisconsin

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    West Virginia

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

    Wyoming

    1. Credit Card
    2. IRS Tax
    3. Charity/Phishing

    Unknown

    1. Credit Card
    2. Tech Support
    3. IRS Tax

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


Update Your File Scam PSA

Update Your File Scam PSA


Esquema de Fraude Actualice Su Expediente

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 Scammers..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.

HELP PROTECT YOURSELF AND LOVED ONES FROM SCAMS TARGETING VETERANS

  • 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/wire money or gift cards 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 www.nasdva.us, and click on “Links.”

     

HAVE YOU WITNESSED THIS SCAM?

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.

REPORT NOW