Tips to protect veterans from scams, 7 On Your Side details the red flags

NEW YORK (WABC) -- 7 On Your Side has tips to protect America's retired heroes.

Veterans lost $338 million to scams over the past five years, according to the Federal Trade Commission.

The average loss was $894 per soldier. That's triple the amount for non-military victims.

The battlefield for veterans is littered with financial landmines.

One reason for the scams is that troop members trust other troop members.

There is a whole platoon of swindlers pretending to be veterans and often offering to help them to connect with other veterans.

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Veterans are being told they can qualify for money from secret government programs, but must first pay a fee.

Older veterans are being solicited for plans to boost their pension, investing in financial products, but those moves could disqualify them from other programs including Medicaid.

Bogus military charities hit up service members for donations.

Fishers impersonating VA officials call saying they need to update their records and need Social Security numbers.

A new scam offers military personnel COVID-19 test kits or access to the vaccine if they pay up front.

Red flags to look out for:

- Unsolicited calls asking for personal information are never done by the VA

- Any offers to increase benefits
- High-pressure fundraising from so-called vets charities
- Scam job ads recruiting for secret government positions, that request you to pay upfront

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