9 minute read • Jan. 23, 2024 – Military One Source

Your military friend or family member serves our country with integrity and honor. Unfortunately, there are scammers out there who try to take advantage of that service to cheat them and you. You can help protect your service member against military scams by learning the warning signs of schemes that target those in the military community.

Rental Property Scams

These scams target military personnel looking for housing near a base. Scammers pretend to be real estate agents and post fake ads for rental properties on websites, sometimes promising military discounts and other incentives. They try to get service members to send them money for fees and deposits upfront – and the victim ends up with no money and no place to live.

If someone insists on receiving money or other payments before a property has been seen, it is probably a rental scam.

DFAS/MyPay Phishing Scams

These schemes try to steal a service member’s identity by getting Social Security numbers, bank accounts and other personal information. The scammer pretends to be from the Defense Finance and Accounting Service or another military group and contacts members or their spouses by phone, email or text. They may claim that due to computer problems, your information was lost and needs to be reentered to process payments. In other cases, their emails contain links or attachments that can put malware on computers to steal passwords and account information.

Your service member should never give personal information on the phone – or click on links in emails – from someone they don’t know. Also, DFAS and other military organizations never ask for personal financial information, account numbers or passwords.

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Payday Loans

Is your friend or family member having trouble making ends meet? If they are considering getting a short-term payday loan to tide them over, they may be setting themselves up for long-term financial trouble.

“Short-term,” “personal” or “payday” loans are unsecured loans for small amounts – generally $500 or less – that charge big interest rates and fees. (A typical two-week payday loan charging $15 per $100 borrowed equals an annual percentage rate of almost 400%.) Many payday loan companies operate online and advertise “fast cash” and “no credit required.”

Active-duty service members are protected from payday loans by the Military Lending Act, which keeps lenders from gouging military personnel with high interest rates and fees. 

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