Military retirees and veterans far outpaced other members of the military community when it comes to damage done by financial fraud in 2020, according to federal data released in July, with $68 million reported lost to various scams.
That figure nearly doubles the combined losses reported by active duty servicemembers ($13 million), National Guard and Reserve members ($6 million), and spouses or dependents of active duty members ($17 million) according to data from the Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Sentinel Network.
Only 57% of fraud victims reported their rank or that of their military family member, but of those that did, officer-related losses topped $19 million, compared with $44 million related to enlisted members.
Top Fraud Types
Of the 66,383 fraud reports received from military consumers, nearly 29,000 were imposter scams, which can range from fraudsters impersonating Social Security or IRS officials to posing as family members or potential romantic partners to gain trust and ask for money. These scams cost military consumers $41.3 million last year.
Other types of fraud at the top of the list:
- Fraudulent prizes, sweepstakes, and lotteries accounted for $12.3 million in losses in 2020.
- Scams connected to online shopping or negative reviews led to $8.1 million in losses.
- Fake business or job opportunities resulted in $6.7 million in losses, as did fraudulent travel, vacation, and timeshare programs. The second group had the highest median loss rate ($2,475) of all categories.
Read MOAA’s three-part series on avoiding scams, and learn more about scam avoidance and reporting practices at FTC.gov. MOAA Premium and Life members can watch An Overview of Scams and Frauds, a recording of a webinar that was part of MOAA’s 2020 Annual Meeting presentation (login required).