Scams Cost Veterans, Military Retirees $350 Million in 2023

Scams Cost Veterans, Military Retirees $350 Million in 2023
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Veterans reported $350 million in total fraud losses to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2023, up nearly $60 million from the previous year’s $292 million, according to the FTC’s annual data book.


More than 74,000 veterans, including military retirees, reported an instance of fraud in the last calendar year, with 31% of those reports involving a financial loss, per the data book, which also provided a recap of other parts of the wider military community:

  • Active duty servicemembers: 7,361 fraud reports, with 42% reporting a loss. Total fraud: $52 million.
  • National Guard and Reserve members: 5,054 fraud reports, with 40% reporting a loss. Total fraud: $39 million.
  • Spouses/dependents of active duty servicemembers: 7,093 fraud reports, with 40% reporting a loss. Total fraud: $36 million.


All those groups saw a higher percentage of reports involving financial loss than the general population, which saw a loss in 27% of its 2.5 million fraud reports, totaling more than $10 billion – up from $8.8 billion in 2022.


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The FTC classifies the above groups as “military consumers” in their data, which shows a year-over-year uptick in all manner of scams and frauds targeting this population. Some examples:

  • Imposter Scams: 42,766 reports in 2023, up from 39,909 in 2022.
  • Credit Card-Related Identity Theft: 14,742 reports in 2023, up from 14,501 in 2022.
  • Business/Personal Loan Fraud: 4,173 reports in 2023, up nearly 50% from 2,801 in 2022.


Good news for military consumers was hard to find in the new data set, with most categories seeing year-over-year increases. The few exceptions included a 33% dip in identity theft claims relating to medical services and an 18% reduction in tax fraud claims. The biggest improvement stemmed from technology changes rather than prevention measures – fraud related to landline telephone accounts fell by more than half in 2023.


Military retirees and other veterans continue to see disproportionate fraud targeting for a variety of reasons. Some are service-connected – scams involving federal benefits have become more popular, for example – while others are demographic: Scam victims in their 20s reported losing money more often, per the FTC, but when those over 70 were scammed, they lost the most money per incident.


Protect Yourself

MOAA offers a range of resources to help you protect your personal data (and your bank account) from scammers of all types:


MOAA also is a partner in the Cybercrime Support Network’s Military and Veteran Program, which aims to protect servicemembers, veterans, and military families from falling victim to fraud. Get more resources from that organization at this link.


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About the Author

Kevin Lilley
Kevin Lilley

Lilley serves as MOAA's digital content manager. His duties include producing, editing, and managing content for a variety of platforms, with a concentration on The MOAA Newsletter and Follow him on X: @KRLilley