Every two minutes, someone in the United States becomes a victim of fraud. A disproportionate number of scams target the nation’s most honorable and vulnerable — veterans and the elderly. These victims are defrauded out of millions of dollars every year.
In partnership with the Oregon Department of Justice, Department of Consumer and Business Services and AARP, the Oregon Department of Veterans’ Affairs is hosting a first-of-its-kind event to educate veterans and their families about fraud and scams that target them.
Operation Stop Scams will be hosted on Monday, May 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at World of Speed, 27490 SW 95th Ave. in Wilsonville. Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum will speak at the event, which includes learning sessions by several state agencies focused on helping veterans understand how scams target them and how they can protect themselves. Organizations that provide direct services to veterans and Oregon’s aging population will also be available throughout the event.
“It is critically important that all veterans understand how to protect themselves from being defrauded. These scams are particularly despicable because the veterans involved are in the stage where they don’t have the opportunity to recover financially, so these losses are devastating to them,” said ODVA Director Kelly Fitzpatrick. “Moreover, the impacted veterans are often our nation’s heroes who served during World War II, or the wars in Korea or Vietnam.”
“A 2017 AARP study found that U.S. military veterans are twice as likely as nonveterans to lose money to fraud. Fraudsters come at ex-service members from many angles, employing vet-focused twists on identity theft, phishing, impostor scams, and investment and loan deceptions,” said Ruby Haughton-Pitts, AARP Oregon State Director. “Getting this information, education and resources about potential fraud in front of veterans, military and their families is the best way to stop these con artists.”
Just this month, Multnomah County Circuit Court fined Future Income Payments LLC $5.9 million for executing a scheme on approximately 240 Oregon veterans and retirees. The Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services’ Division of Financial Regulation and the Department of Justice sued Future Income for the scheme, which provided illegal loans to low-income Oregonians with interest up to 200 percent.
“While scammers can lurk everywhere, and can target anybody, veterans can be an easy target because scammers know they may have access to pensions and other resources. Even though the scams keep changing, there are easy things we can do to protect ourselves and our families and neighbors. But, we must all work together in order to educate ourselves. I am looking forward to an informative and fun event,” said Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum.
This event is open and free to the public. Veterans and family are encouraged to attend. A light breakfast and lunch is provided for all attendees as well as an opportunity to tour the museum following the event.
Register to attend at https://aarp.cvent.com/StopScams2019 or call 1-877-926-8300.
To learn more about protecting yourself from financial fraud visit https://dfr.oregon.gov/financial/protect/Pages/senior-safe.aspx. To learn about veteran benefits, please visit www.oregon.gov/odva or call 503-373-2085 to find a local Veteran Service Office.