The Better Business Bureau, in Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington, says fraudsters are targeting our nations heroes – military members and veterans – with several types of scams. Here's what you need to know:
Military Loans: Beware of flashy offers promising "up to 40 percent of your monthly take home pay," "guaranteed loans," "instant approval," "no credit check," "all ranks approved," often come with sky-high interest rates and hidden fees designed to bilk borrowers out of cash and damage financial security.
Housing: Look out for ads promising military discounts and too-good-to-be-true incentives use stolen photos of legitimate rental properties to bait renters out of security deposits via money transfer schemes.
Cars: Be suspicious if you see low-priced vehicles posted on classified ad websites tout discounts for military personnel, or claim to be from soldiers who need to sell fast because they've been deployed. Schemers convince buyers to wire money; however, vehicle data is stolen.
Remember: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
Advice from the Better Business Bureau
Protect Your Finances: Never wire transfer money to strangers.
Check out the companies and charities: You can research companies at www.bbb.org for free BBB Reliability Reports or Charity Review Reports.
Defend Your Computers: Avoid visiting unfamiliar sites or opening e-mails from unknown senders. Install a firewall and updated anti-virus software.
Safeguard Your Identity: Actively deployed military personnel can place an "active duty alert" on their credit reports to help minimize the risk of identity theft. With this alert, the Fair Credit Reporting Act requires creditors and businesses to verify identities before issuing or granting credit.
In addition, the Federal Trade Commission offers advice to help military families deter, detect and defend from identity theft.
Report any Scams: File complaints with Better Business Bureau at www.bbb.org, with the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov, or with the Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.
Educate Yourself: BBB Foundation offers Military Line to help military members, veterans and their families make educated financial decisions and defend themselves against common scams: www.akorww.bbb.org/military.