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USAA and the Federal Trade Commission Report an 80% increase in cases over two years
SAN ANTONIO – Members of the United States military are increasingly finding themselves the victims of identity theft and subjects of romance and imposter scams.
In 2021, the FBI received more than 25,000 reports of romance fraud complaints. The FTC announced that in the last five years, people have reported losing a staggering $1.2 billion to romance scams—more than any other FTC fraud category. Both USAA and the FTC say that the trend is rapidly expanding and have cited an 80% increase in the number of cases since 2020.
“Unfortunately, the military is somewhat of an easy target for these kinds of scams,” said Stacey Nash, senior vice president and head of fraud management and central operations at USAA Federal Savings Bank. “Because they’re often stationed overseas, it’s very easy for the scammers to explain why they might need money or why they can’t meet in person.”
Some warning signs that you might be getting targeted by a scammer in a military romance or imposter scam include:
In today’s social media and online-driven world, it’s easy to have your identity stolen and used for these types of scams, Army Col. Daniel Blackmon, Chief of Staff, Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill knows this firsthand. Using stolen photos that he had posted on Twitter, thousands of scammers were pretending to be the Army officer and asking for money and other things of value.
“The military provides basic necessities like food and housing and we all can get access to our banks,” said Blackmon “If people know that, then perhaps it will disrupt the idea behind the scam that troops are stuck without money, can’t deposit their paycheck, or need help getting funds to a sick family member."
If you find that you’ve become the victim of an imposter or romance scam, there are several ways to report it:
Founded in 1922 by a group of military officers, USAA is among the leading providers of insurance, banking and investment and retirement solutions to more than 13 million members of the U.S. military, veterans who have honorably served and their families. Headquartered in San Antonio, USAA has offices in seven U.S. cities and three overseas locations and employs approximately 36,000 people worldwide. Each year, the company contributes to national and local nonprofits in support of military families and communities where employees live and work. For more information about USAA, follow us on Facebook or Twitter (@USAA), or visit usaa.com.