CHARLESTON — West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is urging veterans and all enlisted military members to be wary of phishing scams.
His office says scammers have been known to target veterans and members of the military and that these con artists will look for any opportunity to steal personal information and use it to their advantage.
West Virginia is home to more than 150,000 veterans and enlisted service members – ranking as one of the highest per capita military service rates in the nation.
“This is a special time to celebrate those who have made the ultimate sacrifice by putting their lives on the line to secure the freedom we all enjoy,” Morrisey said. “It’s also an important opportunity for every veteran and military member to recognize the risks of identity theft and protect themselves so they do not get caught up in a scam meant to steal personal information.”
According to the AG's office, con artists have been known to use a military file update scam. It typically involves an impostor claiming that he or she needs to “update” the consumer’s military file as a way to gain unauthorized access to personal information.
These impostors claim to be from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, Veterans Health Administration and other veteran-oriented organizations. The impostors typically request personal or financial information already on record.
The office reminds veterans and military members that they never should give personal information over the phone or via email without verifying the authenticity of the recipient. Additionally, these consumers should let unknown phone numbers go to voicemail and never click on unfamiliar links or open attachments.
The office also says military members who are about to be deployed and without need to apply for credit should consider placing an Active Duty Alert on their credit report. This provides extra protections, such as additional verification steps, before credit can be extended in their name.
The office also says military and non-military consumers alike also should exercise caution in giving to veterans’ charities. Anyone considering such a gift should verify the charity is legitimate and registered to solicit donations in West Virginia through the Secretary of State’s Office.
Consumers with questions are asked to contact the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-800-368-8808, the Eastern Panhandle Consumer Protection Office in Martinsburg at 304-267-0239 or visit the office online at www.wvago.gov.