Scams and the Military: The Top 10 Most Risky (from the Council of Better Business Bureaus)

Scams and the Military: The Top 10 Most Risky

Military families and veterans have long been recognized as being at increased risk of being targeted by scammers. The steady paychecks and relative youth of active-duty military personnel may make them particularly vulnerable. Our BBB Scam Tracker scam reporting tool gives us up-to-the-minute information on trends in the scam marketplace, including scams that impact those that identify as active duty military, veterans, or military spouses. We touched on military-specific statistics in our 2016 BBB Scam Tracker Risk Report. With several more months of reporting data to analyze, we took a fresh look for this edition of Trusted Scout.

Individuals who self-identify as active-duty military personnel, veterans or military spouses represent 8.5% of those who report to BBB Scam Tracker. These individuals may be more susceptible when exposed to a scam, with 17.4% reporting losses compared to 15.7% of non-military individuals. More striking is the median loss of $300, 20% higher than the non-military median loss of $251.

Our 2016 Risk Report introduced our new BBB Risk Index concept, a mathematical formula that assigns a risk rating to different scam types based on the intersection of exposure, susceptibility and monetary loss.

2016 Military Risk Report

By applying this formula to data from military families collected to date, we were able to identify the following scam types as being the top 10 most risky scams for military families:
1.Fake checks
2.Home improvement scams
3.Travel and vacation scams
4.Online purchase scams
5.Debt collection scams
6.Advance fee loan scams
7.Family and friend emergency scams
8.Tech support scams
9.Sweepstakes, lottery and prize scams
10.Tax collection scams

Knowing about the types of scams that are trending and the tactics scammers use is your best protection. To learn more about how to spot and avoid the most risky scam types, visit

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