Consumer Column

Veterans Consumer Alert: Stay Empowered to Fight Scams and Fraud

BATON ROUGE, LA – Veterans Day is a time to honor the brave men and women of America who have sacrificed, fought, and – in some cases – gave their lives to defend this great nation. While our nation formally shows its appreciation for these great American heroes next week, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry today reminds citizens that there are fraudsters aiming to prey on veterans and service members alike.

“Our nation owes a great debt of gratitude to military service members, veterans, and their families. It is despicable that anyone would seek to take advantage of those who have sacrificed so much for us,” said General Landry.  “As a veteran, I joined many of our nation's finest to protect our rights and freedoms. And as Attorney General, I will continue doing all that I legally can to protect the military community from criminals targeting them with scams.”

Unfortunately, veterans and military service members can make attractive targets for con artists and unscrupulous businesses. Military pay and veteran benefits are a steady source of income, and fraudsters know that military personnel are held to a high standard for debt repayment – making them hesitant to challenge the debt, question shady business practices, or seek assistance. Also, many military service members move frequently and do not always know which businesses to avoid in a new community.

General Landry said the scams can take many forms, from promises for quick and easy credit and car title loans to sky-high returns on bogus investment deals. Or they might even lure consumers with hopes for online romance, interest in charitable giving, or the appeal of getting good housing at eye-catching prices.

To help avoid these pitfalls, General Landry offers a few tips to spot a scam:

  • Take your time. Any deal that pressures you to act immediately probably will not end well for you. Slow down and think about it – rushing into a supposed “deal” will usually just buy you trouble.
  • Listen for the name game. Do they throw around the words “veterans” or “military families” in their name or ads? That does not necessarily mean that veterans or the families of active-duty personnel support the organization or will benefit from a donation. Research charities at the Better Business Bureau’s Wise Giving Alliance website at www.give.org.
  • Get it in writing. Before you open your wallet, ask for and look at the written terms of the deal. Then take your time and review. Are the terms what you expected? If not, can you really trust that company?
  • Check it out. Always do your homework. Talk to others. Look up the company online and search for consumer reports.

To help further educate veterans and military families about special consumer protections, representatives from General Landry’s office will be distributing information at the following Veterans Day activities:

Thursday, November 2: 11:30 AM – 1:30 PM
Annual Tribute to Veterans
Hammond Recreation Department, 601 West Coleman Avenue, Hammond, LA 70403

Wednesday, November 8: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
We Salute Our Veterans
Quitman High School Auditorium, 181 Wolverine Drive, Quitman, LA 71268

Thursday, November 9: 8:30 AM – 10:00 AM
Veterans Day Breakfast
Union Parish High School, 1126 Marion Highway, Farmerville, LA 71241

Thursday, November 9: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
Veterans Day Celebration
Jonesboro-Hodge High School Auditorium, 225 Pershing Highway, Jonesboro, LA 71251

Thursday, November 9: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Veterans Appreciation Event
Gretna Senior and Wellness Center, 476 Franklin Avenue, Gretna, LA 70053

Friday, November 10: 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Louisiana Veterans Memorial Park Ribbon Cutting & Dedication Ceremony
Old Arsenal Park, 300 Capitol Access Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Friday, November 10: 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM
School Assembly and Veterans Parade
Golden Meadow Middle School, 630 South Bayou Drive, Golden Meadow, LA 70357

Friday, November 10: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Honoring Our Heroes Veterans Day Celebration
Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, 2111 North Trenton Street, Ruston, LA 71270

Saturday, November 11: 9:00 AM
Veterans Day Celebration
Chennault Aviation and Military Museum, 701 Kansas Lane, Monroe, LA 71203

Saturday, November 11: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Veterans Day Ceremony
Ascension Veterans Memorial Park, 612 South Irma Boulevard, Gonzales, LA 70737

Sunday, November 12: 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM
Veterans Luncheon
VFW Post 8538, 223 VFW Road, Larose, LA 70373

Sunday, November 12: 12:00 PM – 6:00 PM
2nd Annual Baton Rouge Veterans Day Parade Festivities
USS Kidd Veterans Memorial, 305 South River Road, Baton Rouge, LA 70802

Monday, November 13: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM
To Celebrate Our Veterans
Weston High School, 213 Highway 505, Jonesboro, LA 71251

Tuesday, November 14: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Veterans Appreciation Event
Marrero Senior Center, 4420 Seventh Street, Marrero, LA 70072

Monday, November 20: 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Veterans Appreciation Event
Bridge City Senior Center, 1601 Bridge City Avenue, Bridge City, LA 70094

Wednesday, November 29: 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM 
Veterans Appreciation Event
Jefferson Senior Center, 4518 Jefferson Highway, Jefferson, LA 70121

Other activities may be scheduled. The most updated list of events, more consumer protection tips, and resources available for Service Members and Veterans may be found at www.agjefflandry.com.

#



Coming soon, the attorney's general office seeks to provide a mechanism by which to take online payments for collections.