NASHVILLE – Ahead of Veterans Day, the Tennessee Department of Commerce & Insurance (TDCI) and the Tennessee Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division Office urged Tennessee’s veterans and their families to beware of financial scams that often target service members.
TDCI’ s Securities and Consumer Affairs divisions, along with the Attorney General’s Office, reminded veterans to keep the following in mind:
• Be wary of free trial memberships or free trials that aren’t free. Scammers often try to grab your attention with eye-catching free trial offers, but they then require that you pay a nominal fee so they can get your debit or credit card number. Some companies won’t charge you anything at first, but they will request bank information upfront in order to begin billing you after the free trial period ends.
• Beware predatory lending schemes. Predatory lenders target military personnel because they typically are young, are inexperienced with finances and do not have an emergency fund saved. Additionally, service members are paid regularly and have job security. Predatory lenders intentionally place themselves in close proximity to military bases and use attractive marketing techniques to entice military personnel.
• Be wary of up-front fees. Scammers often say they can help you access your benefits or get a good interest rate on a loan if you provide them an upfront fee. If you encounter this, remember that the military offers legal assistance, interest-free emergency loans and financial planning tools. Ask your military installation offices for details.
• Always find out what the total price is. Scammers hide the true cost of a product through numerous installment payments. They can offer misleading information about how much something really costs once all the payments and fees are added up. If the total price is too high, take your business elsewhere.
• Don't trust promises about the future. Some scammers will promise changes to the terms of the loan that will occur in the future. Before handing over any money, make sure that everyone agrees to the final terms of a deal.