The Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities (DoBS) is joining the Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) in raising awareness about scams and exploitation involving veteran benefits.
As a young soldier, I clearly remember being briefed on certain places of business that were deemed off-limits to all soldiers. I did not fully understand why until my roommate purchased a sports car with a loan payment that was almost equal to his monthly take home pay. Unfortunately, predatory scams targeting the military continue long after you hang up your uniform.
What is Pension Poaching?
Pension poaching is a form of financial exploitation that targets veterans and beneficiaries who are eligible for VA pension benefits. Pennsylvania is home to nearly 800,000 veterans, a majority of which are over the age of 60, making it a prime poaching ground for scammers seeking to defraud American heroes.
Pension poaching comes in many forms, but may include:
- Selling financial products of questionable value or charging a fee to restructure assets in order to make the veteran or beneficiary meet eligibility criteria;
- Promise of pension eligibility for a fee or offer a lump sum or advanced loan against a future awarded pension;
- Selling overpriced in-home care or care that is never actually provided;
- Selling assistance to veterans in applying for benefits.
Assistance is Available
Veterans and their advocates should NEVER pay for assistance to apply for veterans' benefits. The DMVA wants veterans and their families to know that free, safe assistance available to help apply for veteran benefits, including their VA pension. Accredited veteran service officers in Pennsylvania work within organizations such as DMVA, county veteran affairs offices, and veterans service organizations to help ensure veterans and their families are able to identify and apply for the wide range of benefits they are eligible for.
If you have been the victim of a scam related to a veteran benefit, contact the Pennsylvania Attorney General's Military and Veterans Affairs section 717-783-1944 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You can always contact the Department of Banking and Securities with questions related to a financial transaction, company, or product at 800-PA-BANKS (800-600-0007).
Learn more about avoiding pension poaching scams: What to Know About Veteran Pension Poaching