A new report produced by the Better Business Bureau says that military consumers face unique marketplace challenges that can result in higher than average losses to scammers and other financial fraud, according to the bureau’s website.
The report titled “Military Consumers & Marketplace Trust: An Analysis of Marketplace Challenges Facing the Military Community” researched more than 28,000 business complaints and 5,000 scam reports from military consumers in 2018 and then compared those reports to reports of all consumers in the U.S. and Canada, highlighting the key differences reported by military consumers, the Faribault Daily News reported.
Military consumers reported median losses of $200 in 2018 when scammed in the marketplace according to complaint data collected through BBB Scam Tracker®, the BBB’s interactive online reporting tool.
The data revealed military consumers’ financial scam losses are 32% higher than the $152 reported by all consumers in 2018, according to the report.
Military consumers are often faced with faster purchasing decisions than most consumers due to frequent Permanent Change of Station (PCS) moves, the research revealed. Military consumers filed more complaints about securing and maintaining their homes, moving and relocation purchases than most consumers, and they also reported higher loss rates to home improvement scammers.
Frequent PCS moves also make securing stable employment difficult for spouses and other family members, the report notes.
“Employment scams were the riskiest scams for military consumers, as they were for all consumers in 2018,” BBB Institute Executive Director Melissa Lanning Trumpower said. “The difference is that for military consumers the median losses reported were $2,460—more than double that of all consumers,” she added.
Education is the best defense in preventing financial fraud and becoming victim to scams, experts say.
The new military consumer report seeks to help guide military consumers in recognizing their fraud vulnerability, and to further the education efforts of BBB and its partners.
The BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust joined with the Association of Military Banks of America to release the report during Military Consumer Month.