Active military three times more likely to have identity stolen and bank hacked, according to FTC

The I-Team found active and retired military members are at risk for fraud and cyber attacks
Posted at 9:51 AM, Jul 25, 2023
and last updated 2023-07-25 10:51:26-04

MILWAUKEE — July is Military Consumer Protection Month and the state's consumer protection agency is warning active and retired military members to stay vigilant when it comes to identity theft, fake job postings, and more.

Wisconsin native Bryan Sevener served in the Army for eight years including a year-long tour in Iraq.

"The challenge continues to be transitioning, going from military to civilian," Sevener explained.

Sevener said the transition is even more difficult as folks try and take advantage of active and retired military. According to the Federal Trade Commission, active service members are three times more likely than other Americans to have their bank accounts hacked or personal information stolen.

"There's that constant, steady payroll that you know is going to happen twice a month, and scammers know there's a steady stream of income coming in," Michael Domke said.

Domke's with the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. He said that the interception of paychecks is just one-way people are falling victim. He said it's best to double check you're receiving those biweekly payments and be leery of suspicious phone calls or emails regarding pay.

"You want to not respond right away and go to a verified source. With the military, that's a perk of being in the service. You have a more direct line into making sure you can verify what's happening," Domke explained.

Domke said the state's consumer protection bureau has also seen reports of fake housing listings near military bases, fake job postings targeting recent veterans, and even fake charities claiming to support the military.

"It doesn't surprise me at all. It does irritate me quite a bit," Sevener said.

Sevener said he sees this happening firsthand.

"With me having a veteran-owned company, I do see scams targeted at us. Specifically, around government contracting, government jobs," Sevener added.

Both Domke and Sevener said it's best to go directly to your military point of contact if anything seems off. If you believe you've fallen victim to a scam you can contact your local Veterans Affairs office or DATCP.