Report: Service members losing more money to scams


NEW YORK (CBS NEWS) — Anyone can be the target of a scam, but a recent report finds members of the military and veterans tend to lose more money to con artists.

Army veteran Michael Poling was looking for work and posted his resume on several employment sites. A company reached out with a customer service position he could do from home. He was sent a check for $5,000 to buy home office equipment. He would send back any money left over.

Poling told CBS News that nothing seemed odd to him. He told an acquaintance about the job who said his wife had just fallen victim to a scam that sounded similar.

Poling said, “The original check bounced and then they were short the money.” That’s when he reached out to authorities and was told to stop all contact with the company.

Poling didn’t lose money, but many veterans do. A study from the Better Business Bureau found current and former service members who fell for a scam lost an average of $200 which is 32% more than the general public.

Melissa Bittner from the Better Business Bureau said, “When it comes to employment scams, it’s really important for you to pay attention for those ‘work from home,’ ‘flexible job’ opportunities in particular.”

Bittner says current service members are also frequently the target of moving scams. Last year CBS News talked to Army Sergeant Herbert Gill and his wife Amanda. When the Gills transferred to a new base, the moving company held the family’s possessions hostage until they paid an extra $1,200.

“They’re doing it to me,” said Gill, “I mean, what are they doing to a young soldier that doesn’t know any better?”

The Gills and Poling shared their stories to alert other veterans and to hopefully protect them from getting scammed.

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