Beware of scammers preying on military

by Kim Suchek

Hello Military community,

As a civilian and a victim of one or two of the many scams that affect many Americans every year I can say it is a heartbreaking, pain-in-the-butt situation to fix. I was surprised to hear of not only the many ways for scammers can affect the financial security and livelihood of our military community, but also how easily it is.

Many military members frequently relocate, are separated from friends and family, and under other deployment-related stress. Added to this, that many are very young and fresh out of high school. This is why we are considered easy targets for unscrupulous greedy individuals.

Identity theft is the No. 1 crime affecting service members and their families. This is a tremendous drain that is almost impossible to correct. It is also one of the easiest crimes to go unchecked for long periods of time. Especially if the service member is single.

Scammers can harm military families stateside and overseas, particularly where language and cultural barriers exist. In 2013, the Federal Trade Commission received nearly 73,000 complaints from military consumers. Identity theft topped the list with 22,000 complaints, and others concerned debt collection, imposter scams as well as bank, lender and credit issues. Also on the list were problems related to information furnishers and auto-related complaints.

Add this to the fact that many military families do not have an emergency savings fund and many more have less than $100 in emergency savings, while spouses may experience financial shortfalls and pay-check issues.

Along with these issues, bad credit is a security problem for service members. That’s why the Department of Defenses has created this website:

The site is full of information on events and outreach activities. Areas of focus are avoiding scams, investing wisely, managing money and credit, dealing with debt and fighting identity theft.

For military members and their families, these tools will empower and inform to defend against scams and fraud. I appreciate the services and resources being provided to help support military members and their families. Be proactive and stay safe, secure and informed!

Blessings from my family to yours,

Kim Suchek

If you have any questions or concerns or would like to share a story or situation, contact me at and visit my website at for updated information and other resources not listed in my book.

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