Service members targeted in financial schemes

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — On Tuesday Americans took time to honor those who bravely fought for our country, but it’s also a good time to remind those who served to be on guard.

According to the Veterans Financial Coalition, service members are often targeted by schemers.

Lela Hargrove is a disabled veteran, and was told to be out of her house a few days after she claims a loan modification scheme led to foreclosure.

“I thought they were working on it,” she recalled. “I communicated with them, and they told me everything was going as planned.”

Hargrove missed a mortgage payment a few months ago and found a company to help her consolidate her loans, but after receiving her money – that so-called loan company disappeared.

Susan Lake, the wife of a serviceman, said she fell for a scheme that claimed to help military families purchase new cars.

“She mentioned this military auto-buying program, and she said basically it’s a service that she pays for or is involved in where they help service people buy and sell vehicles,” Lake explained.

After sending $2,000, Lake never got the car – and never got her money back.

“Even though people may say they have this program, if it sounds too good to be true, it definitely is,” she said.

Some of the most appalling schemes Call 12 for Action has uncovered in the past are people posing as Veteran Administration employees asking vets to update their financial information, and more often than not, they do – handing over credit card information and even bank account numbers.

Other schemes targeting veterans include:

  • Charging veterans for services they could get for free or less expensively elsewhere, such as military records
  • Fraudulent investment schemes that convince veterans to transfer their assets into an irrevocable trust
  • Offering “instant approval” military loans (“no credit check,” “all ranks approved”) that can have high interest rates and hidden fees

Call 12 for Action has been added to the Veterans Financial Coalition’s website so we can help provide an invaluable resource to our veterans and their financial security.

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