By Rep. Steve Mentzer (R-Lititz)
Veterans are reminded to be aware of scams targeting the military community and their families. The Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General offers the following advice to those who have sacrificed for our country so they can take the proper precautions to safeguard their savings and hard-earned benefits.
There are dishonest financial planners and advisors out there who will offer assistance with filing paperwork or claim they can help veterans qualify for Veterans Administration benefits. Some have sophisticated operations, which makes it more difficult to recognize when they are offering advice that a veteran can ordinarily get for free, or selling the veteran a product he or she doesn’t really need.
Remember, there is no cost for forms or to apply for veteran benefits, and free assistance is available from trained veterans service officers across Pennsylvania.
A second scam involves dishonest businesses that target veterans through advertising, discounted merchandise and services, and financing. In many cases, only after making these purchases do veterans become aware that they have been sold grossly overpriced jewelry, household goods and electronics with unreasonably high interest rates.
Finally, disreputable charities often capitalize on the selfless and generous nature of the military community by soliciting them for donations geared to benefit specific groups of veterans. Unfortunately, it has been reported that some of these entities have either misrepresented themselves as well-known or respected charities, or they have misrepresented who will receive the benefit of these donations or how much of the donation they will receive.
Remember to ask for and read literature about a charity before making a donation. Find out how much of the donation goes to helping people and program services, as opposed to fundraising and administrative expenses. Donate by check only and make it out to the charity, not to a company or the individual collecting the donations.
The Attorney General maintains an Office of Military and Veterans Affairs that was created to provide assistance to Pennsylvania veterans through education and outreach, as well as mediation, investigation and litigation.
Veterans who have questions or believe they are victims of these scams may call their office at (717) 783-1944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
. Thank you for your service.