MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Fraud Fighters is our monthly look at scams and what you can do to fight them. May is Military Appreciation Month, a time to honor the sacrifices of our active-duty military and veterans. They are targets for scammers just like everyone else. Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama joined us over Zoom in a pre-recorded interview to talk about what sort of scams targeting the military they have been seeing.
Jamie Harding, AARP Alabama: one thing we want to point out to folks is, unfortunately, veterans and active-duty military are targeted at a higher rate than civilians for scams and fraud. That’s a terrible thing but we need to be aware of it. One of the things we are seeing specifically in regards to the pandemic is a TRICARE scam. All the veterans out there know what TRICARE is, their healthcare. They’re telling us scammers are offering free Coronavirus test kits in exchange for a beneficiary’s information. Social security numbers, bank information, anything they can steal in order to get ahold of your money or your benefits.
There’s a slight deviation from this scam that’s falsely claiming to provide a COVID-19 vaccine or a remedy for it. There are as we know from the Centers for Disease Control right now the CDC tells us there are no remedies, there are no vaccines yet available for the Coronavirus and we want people to be aware of that. And one of the things we want them to know is that to never give away details, personal information, their TRICARE information, any of that over the phone, email text, sometimes they even show up on your doorstep trying to get this information.
Chad: So how do people know something coming at them is a scam, what should they really be looking for?
Jamie: They should be looking for anything that is demanding their personal information and the government is not going to come to them, TRICARE is not going to come to them and ask them for personal information. Also, be aware there are a lot of scams floating about during the pandemic and we want everyone and we want everyone including active duty military to know that anything that offers them medical equipment, or a test or a remedy or a vaccine is a scam never give out that information based on someone reaching out to them.
Chad: Why is it important to stay on top of these scams and know what they are?
Jamie: This is multimillion-dollar crimewave across this country and we know that hundreds of millions of dollars are lost to fraud and scams and it’s very difficult if not impossible in most cases to get that money back.
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