December 3, 2023

RALEIGH, N.C. — Hundreds of thousands of veterans and active duty service members and their families live in North Carolina. As we honor those who’ve served this National Veteran and Military Family Month, experts say opportunists are unfortunately hard at work targeting those who’ve served our country.  

“According to our BBB ScamTracker Risk Report, our service members, veterans and their families lose more money when victims of a scam than non-military consumers,” said Mallory Wojciechowski, president and CEO of BBB. “The median loss for veterans was $133 when falling victim to a scam and the median loss for active duty military members was $269.”  

The BBB Serving Eastern North Carolina says the three riskiest scams for veterans were online purchases, employment and home improvement. They gave the below information and tips on how to avoid falling a victim to these types of scams.  

Avoiding Online Purchase Scams

  • The pandemic has led to an increase in reported online purchase scams 
  • Be cautious when shopping online
  • If you’re selling your items or purchasing them from individuals, use reputable online marketplace sites and apps 
  • Make sure they offer protections so your transaction is safer and more secure 
  • Use a credit card when making purchases online  

Avoiding Employment Scams

  • A cumulative look of self-reported data in the Employment Scams Report between February 2016 and May 2020 shows employment scams are riskier than previously reported
  • 19.2% of military spouse and 16.6% of veterans encountering the scam reported a financial loss, compared with 15.5% for non-military consumers 
  • It’s often hard to tell the difference between a legitimate job opportunity and a scam 
  • The BBB encourages those looking for a job to be wary of work from home opportunities, on-the-spot job offers with organizations you’ve only communicated with digitally, offers requiring you to buy equipment, or convincing you to work without pay 

Avoiding Home Improvement Scams

  • Many people are spending more time at home during the pandemic
  • More people are undergoing home improvement projects 
  • An increased number of veterans found themselves falling victim to home improvement scams 
  • BBB recommends saying no to cash-only deals, high-pressure sales tactics, upfront payments, handshake deals without a contract, and on-site inspections 

Information provided by the BBB Serving Eastern N.C. 

For more information on scams in your community and to warn others, visit the BBB’s ScamTracker.