Cyber Scams That Target Veterans and How to Avoid Them

Cyber Scams That Target Veterans and How to Avoid Them

Active duty service members, veterans, and their families are disproportionately targeted by cybercrime. According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the military and veteran community lost over $420.5 million to online scams between 2016 and 2020, a figure that was 44% higher than the civilian population.

Most cybercrimes targeting veterans involve phishing and other social engineering schemes that seek to obtain personal information, money, or both. Frequently, cybercriminals pretend to be veterans themselves or claim to work for the Veterans Administration, Tricare, or a military charity. Common scams include:

  • Phony classified ads for rental properties, often located near military bases, touting discounts for veterans and active-duty military. When victims contact the “landlord,” they’re told to wire money to put down a deposit on the property — which is either owned by an innocent third party who had no idea that a cybercriminal listed it for rent, or doesn’t exist at all.
  • Phony classified ads allegedly posted by service members who are about to deploy, offering special deals for fellow military on cars, electronics, and other high-end products. Once victims wire payment for the goods, the “seller” vanishes.
  • Phony job ads targeting veterans or the spouses of active-duty military. Victims are directed to fill out an “application” that asks for personal identifying information, such as their Social Security Number. They may also be asked to create an account on a bogus job site. Because so many people use the same passwords on multiple sites, cybercriminals take the login credentials the victim used to create the account and try them on other sites, such as banking and shopping sites.
  • Unsolicited emails, text messages, or phone calls purporting to be from the VA or Tricare, requesting personal information or instructing victims to “update” the information in their online account by clicking on a phishing link.
  • Unsolicited emails, text messages, or phone calls offering access to “little-known government programs” or claiming to help veterans “maximize their benefits.”
  • High-pressure fundraising requests from fake veterans’ charities.

These scams can have heartbreaking consequences. For example, a Navy veteran in Miami recently fell victim to a phishing scam that resulted in over $19,000 being fraudulently transferred out of a bank account he’d set up to fund his daughter’s college education.

Tips for Avoiding Cyber Scams Targeting Veterans

  • While many legitimate companies (including Keeper) offer military discounts, be skeptical of classified ads offering special deals for veterans and military members on home rentals or sales, cars, and other goods. Never agree to wire money or send bitcoin to a stranger.
  • Don’t apply to jobs that require you to pay to get the job, or that ask you to fill out an application asking for sensitive information, such as your Social Security Number or bank account. For more tips on avoiding job scams, see this detailed article.
  • If you get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to represent the VA, Tricare, or other government agency, hang up. Never click on unsolicited links sent by email or text.
  • Never give money to charities you’ve never heard of without first investigating them. Don’t give money to known charities over the phone; the caller may be impersonating the charity. Instead, contact the charity directly to donate.
  • Use strong, unique passwords on all of your online accounts, enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) wherever it’s supported, and use a password manager like Keeper to keep track of it all.

Active Duty Military, Veterans, and their Families Get 30% Off Keeper

Keeper is committed to supporting the brave men and women who serve our country. We offer a special 30% discount off our Keeper Unlimited and Family Plans to active duty and retired military, military spouses, including surviving spouses, and dependent family members. Keeper Unlimited customers enjoy:

  • Proprietary, zero-knowledge encryption architecture
  • Store an unlimited number of passwords in a secure, encrypted digital web vault that you can access from any device, running any operating system
  • Store an unlimited number of payment cards, too
  • Generate strong, unique passwords for all of your online accounts and autofill your login credentials across all of your websites and apps
  • Store multi-factor authentication (MFA) codes and autofill them across your websites and apps, too
  • Access your vault from an unlimited number of devices
  • Securely share records with other Keeper users
  • Access 24/7 customer support

Active duty and retired military, military spouses, and dependent family members get 30% off Keeper Unlimited and Family Plans.

Get 30% Off Now

Keeper Family customers enjoy all the same benefits, only with five secure digital vaults, so that the whole family can easily share passwords, 2FA codes, payment cards, and other sensitive information.

Keeper’s zero-knowledge encryption methods ensure that only you can access and decrypt your stored passwords and files. Nobody else can access your Keeper vault – not even Keeper’s own employees!

To claim your discount, just add a Keeper Unlimited or Keeper Family plan to your cart, then go through the verification process during checkout. Keeper uses ID.me, a simple and secure identity verification platform, to verify eligibility for military, first responder, and healthcare worker discounts. Just click the ID.me button, follow the prompts to complete your verification, and the discount will automatically be applied in your Keeper cart.

Happy Veterans Day!