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Veterans are losing more money than ever before to scammers.

CUMBERLAND COUNTY, Pa. — “You fought for us, so we’re fighting for you.”

That’s the message several Pennsylvania agencies have for today’s Veterans. According to AARP, veterans are 40% more likely to lose money to scams than the civilian population.

“Pennsylvania is a hot spot for it,” said Katrina Boyer,  the investor education coordinator for the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities. 

Brigadier General of Pennsylvania Maureen Weigl is the Deputy Adjutant General for Veterans Affairs. She said, “When you’re in a foxhole, you’re trusting the guy on your right or the person who has your six is trustworthy and is going to do what they say, so it’s just an innate nature of veterans to trust people when they say ‘I’m a veteran or I care about you and I want to help.’ and unfortunately, that’s not always the case.”

The Pennsylvania Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, says romance scams are one of the most common right now.

“They say that they care for you, they want to date you and then they steal your money. It’s unfortunate that we have lonely veterans who are single and that’s an easy target,” explained. Weigl.

It’s not just individuals running these scams, Weigl said sometimes it’s a company claiming they can get VA benefits with no hassle.  She added, “Many organizations offer to help veterans get their 100% disability rating through the VA and they charge them and they get a percentage of your hard-earned benefits.”

Every county has veteran service officers who are trained to help people get their claims for free.

Diane Kanode was a Lt. in the US Navy Nurse Corp and she said hearing about these scams is eye-opening, “I’m hoping to just have more of a buffer so that I’m not vulnerable to be taken advantage of, for both myself and my husband.”

You can find out who your county director is to tell with VA benefits here.

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