Nowadays, scammers seem to be everywhere. They reach out to us through email and websites as well as through the phone. Service members are often the target of these scams, accounting for 80 percent of scams, according to Consumer Sentinel data. We all need to be vigilant, so we are not separated from our money by unscrupulous individuals.
We are seeing an uptick in calls from individuals in this state who have been victims of scammers. These scammers are preying on service members and their families and claim to be contacting them for benefits related issues.
Many times, scammers call unsuspecting individuals and pose as organizations that offer financial help to veterans. In order to safeguard yourself, always double check the name of the organization to ensure that it is legitimate before making a donation or providing any money. The WV Secretary of State and the Attorney General can both confirm if an organization is fraudulent or not. The Secretary of State’s office can be reached at 304-558-6000 and the Investigation’s Unit can be reached at 877-FRAUD-WV (372-8398). The Attorney General’s office can be reached at 304-558-2021. You can also sign up for alerts about scams on the Attorney General’s site.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division receives hundreds of reports of people being scammed by individuals claiming to be a service member who needs money for service-related issues. This is a common scam and you should never send money to any unknown person who claims to be a member of the Armed Forces.
Other types of scams go after your personal data. Do not give personal information such as your social security number of any financial data including credit card or banking numbers to people or groups that you are unfamiliar with and never give out this information to anyone who has contacted you via a phone call or email.
Be aware and be alert. Take your time and do not make rash decisions if you are contacted by someone who is asking for money. If they push for a quick decision, then they are likely a scammer. Do your research on the issue and never hesitate to call us or the local authorities if you have any questions.
If you have any received any suspicious calls related to your benefits, please do not hesitate to contact us: 304-558-3661.