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Scammers targeting military veterans and their families through charities

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CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) -

Beware of a financial scam aimed at Tennessee veterans. This time the scam is extending to their family members as well.

Ahead of Veterans Day, there have been reports of people using multiple schemes to get money from military families.

According to the Better Business Bureau there are over 100 active scams in our area.

BBB president Jim Winsett says most of these scams are from telemarketers trying to sell a service they cannot provide.

Jim Winsett has seen his fair share of scams across the Tennessee Valley.

He says the numbers here are low compared to other cities like Atlanta and Nashville.

Scammers typically focus on the elderly or military veterans.

“Well I think it's the fact that some of them or many of them have been through difficult circumstances and situations,” said Jim Winsett, President of BBB Chattanooga.

In recent years scammers have started targeting family members of those who are deployed.

“So we certainly ask them to check with other people about that not necessarily make that decision independently,” said Jim Winsett.

As the holiday season approaches, scams are already popping up.

During this time of year the most common scam will come in the form of a charity.

Winsett says before you give money you should research the program and ask for proper identification.

“The more feedback that you get from them the more comfortable that you have that you're donating to someone that's in a position to provide that service,” said Jim Winsett.

Winsett says some charities will say their proceeds will go toward veterans; however, those in need... won't see a dime.

“We ask that people not to donate cash but donate and set a form that it's traceable,” said Jim Winsett. And that again you're donating to an organization that the military will benefit from.”

Here are a few tips to protect yourself against scams:

  1. Be wary of “special military prices” or “special military financing”.
  2. Guard you confidential personal information such as social security number, military information, bank account information or credit card number.
  3. Check your credit score and bank account often: everyone is entitled to one free report every year
  4. Beware of free memberships of trials that aren’t free
  5. Watch out for predatory lending schemes
  6. Be cautious of services that makes you pay an upfront fee
  7. Don’t trust promises about the future
  8. Be wary of house calls and telemarketers

READ MORE | 3 On Your Side: Scam Alert

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