Scams can affect any consumer, but military personnel and their families are statistically more likely to fall victim to costly and embarrassing fraud. This is particularly true of active-duty servicemembers.
Better Business Bureau warns military families to be aware of common scams that target them, and take steps to guard their identity and finances. Employment, home improvement, and online purchase scams are high risk for the military community, according to the 2018 Scam Tracker Risk Report.
Active-duty military personnel should also be on guard against romance scammers, who start online romantic relationships with victims, then ask for money. Many of these scammers steal their identities and photos in order to impersonate them.
Another type of scam that affects military personnel are housing rental scams, which target active-duty military who are conducting a housing search from afar.
BBB advises military personnel - and all consumers - to follow these tips in order to avoid being defrauded. Avoid employment scams by researching job postings and companies carefully, and never pay money to apply for a job. Get three bids for every home improvement job, and if you are deployed or otherwise unavailable to oversee repairs yourself, make sure that someone communicates with the contractor about your wishes.
For rental properties, carefully research the owner, as well as the home itself. Look for the property owner's name, phone number, and email address online, and if you can’t visit a property yourself, ask someone you trust to go, and confirm that it is what was advertised.
Finally, never be embarrassed to report problems to the Better Business Bureau or the authorities.