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Protecting Our Veterans: Unmasking Military Scams

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Veterans Day is a time to celebrate those who have fought for our country, and now AARP Florida is fighting for you. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), scammers stole $414 million from veterans, active duty service members and their families in 2022. Since you have sacrificed so much for our freedom, your money shouldn’t be sacrificed as well. Take a look at some common scams targeting military service members and veterans, and some best practices on how to defend yourself:

Imposter Scams

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According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), imposter scams continue to be the most popular form of fraud against veterans, costing them $164 million in losses last year. But how do these scams work?

Imposter fraud comes in many shapes and sizes; it occurs when a fraudster impersonates a trusted figure or entity to get a person to either send money or share their personal information – like a social security number or banking information – with the scammer. Just a few military organizations impersonated include:

- TRICARE (and other health care programs)

- U.S. Dept of Veterans Affairs (VA) personnel

- Commanding officers and ranking officials

- Local and county military service officers

- Financial institutions and lenders

Scammers also contact you using all different methods of communication – from phone calls and texts, to emails, social media, and even letters by mail – encouraging you to take immediate action. No matter how a fraudster reaches out to you, here are some tips on how to stay safe:

  • Never Share Your Personal Information: No legitimate company or agency will ever contact you out of the blue to ask you for your personal information. Never share sensitive information to anyone when you are unable to verify the identity of the other person. If you have any questions about a form of communication you received, call the organization’s official customer service number, or visit their website.
  • Don’t Click on Links in Unexpected Texts or Emails: These are commonly used in phishing scams. Clicking on any fake links can install malware on your devices, which can give them complete access to your information. Make sure to visit the company’s website directly or log into your account with the company to find the information.
  • Don’t Trust Your Caller ID: Scammers use technology to make calls look like they’re coming from legitimate companies, agencies, and members of your community. If you’re not expecting the call or don’t recognize the number, consider letting it go to voicemail – this way you can screen the information on your own time and without pressure.

PACT Act Fraud


The PACT Act, enacted into law in August 2022, expanded health care and benefits to an estimated 5 million veterans exposed to toxins during the Vietnam, Gulf War and post-9/11 eras. In a survey conducted by AARP, nearly two-thirds of service members did not know that they could receive free help filing a PACT Act claim, making them vulnerable to fraudsters.

If you need help with filing a claim, refer to the list of veteran service organizations (VSO), agents and attorneys who are accredited representatives by the VA. To begin filing a benefit request related to the PACT Act, visit or call 1-800-698-2411.

Benefit Fraud

Various American Dollar Bills

Did you know that nearly 80% of veterans and military adults are targeted by scams directly related to their benefits? Some of these scams may include unsolicited calls about getting your VA file updated, claims from disreputable “advisors” or shady lenders offering military loans or access to secret veteran benefits, and even individuals who claim they can get the VA to provide your benefits in a lump sum.

Here's some tips on how to protect yourself from military benefits scams:

  • Never Pay for Help Filing VA Benefits or Obtaining Military Records: You are entitled to receive this service for free. Veterans can also take advantage of free benefits counseling from the Florida Department of Veteran’s Affairs. free benefits counseling.
  • Never Share Your Personal Information: Do not share any form of personal, medical, financial, or VA benefit-related information with an individual, especially if you did not initiate contact. Instead, work with Veteran Service Organizations to find a representative accredited by the VA.
  • Do not sign incomplete agreements: If you receive a call or email from a law firm assisting with veteran’s benefits, it may not be trustworthy. Never sign a blank form or agreement without fully understanding what it is you’re agreeing to. Make sure you understand all terms of an agreement you wish to enter.
  • Report suspected fraud: Contact the Federal Trade Commission at and report any VA-related scams to the VA benefits hotline at 1-800-827-1000.

AARP Florida is here to serve our military community and to keep you safe from scams. Visit for local resources and tips for protecting Floridians from fraud and AARP’s Veteran Fraud Center for nationwide updates on fraud affecting those who have served and their families.

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