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SDDVA Secretary Whitlock?s February Column ? Don?t Be Scammed

For more information, contact: Audry Ricketts (South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs) at 605-773-8242 or audry.ricketts@state.sd.us  
 
There is no shortage of scammers looking to take advantage of people online, by phone, through the mail, or in person. And unfortunately, veterans are not excluded. 
 
Scammers know too well that one of the best ways to scam a veteran is to pretend to be a veteran, or some group that is friendly to military consumers. They use jargon to craft a cause or a story that sounds genuine. Once a sense of camaraderie is established, the fraudsters pitch a fake charity, a false promise for free materials, or a variety of other scams targeting veterans, military personnel, and their families.
 
One of the recent scams we have heard about is scammers targeting veterans to help military personnel that are in trouble in a foreign country. Scammers know that veterans have a special bond and have unending support for the men and women that serve. There is a bond joining every veteran from every branch of the service. Whether drafted or enlisted, commissioned or non-commissioned, each took an oath, lived by a code, and stood ready to fight and die for their country.
 
You know what they say, “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” Information is the key to foiling scam artists. Before committing to help and before you open your wallet, do your research. Be skeptical, take your time, and do your homework.
 
If you or someone you know falls victim to a scam, you should reach out to the South Dakota Attorney General’s office (605.773.3215) or email consumerhelp@state.sd.us.  
 
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, either online or by dialing 877.382.4357. If the fraud came through the internet, you could also report it to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at 202.324.3000.
  
Again, if you think it’s a scam, it’s probably a scam. Don’t get pressured to decide on the spot.  
 
Greg Whitlock, Secretary
South Dakota Department of Veterans Affairs
 
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