US military personnel, veterans lost nearly $400 million to scammers since 2015, study shows

Veterans accounted for the lion's share of losses to fraud

U.S. active-duty military personnel and veterans have lost a combined $379.6 million to an assortment of financial scams ranging from government impersonation to phony sweepstakes since 2015, a new study found.

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According to an Atlas VPN investigation released Wednesday, veterans and military retirees have been the hardest hit with monetary losses making up 57%, or $217.2 million, of total losses.

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The report also noted that military consumers filed more than 680,000 complaints to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) pertaining to identity theft, fraud and other related matters.

“Veterans and retirees sent out 417,560 complaints. In other words, 61% of complaints in the last 5 years have been sent by veterans and military retirees,” the report stated.

FILE - In this June 21, 2013 file photo, the seal affixed to the front of the Veterans Affairs Department building in Washington. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)

While the FTC does not adjudicate the reports, the data is disseminated to law enforcement nationwide and often used as the impetus for opening criminal investigations.

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The data also underscored that prizes/sweepstakes/lottery scams “lured out most money out of military personnel, with $51.9 million in damages."

“A total of 10,822 people reported being a victim of lottery or similar scams. Over 22.4% of people who reported scams did lose money. The median loss stands at $2,800,” Atlas VPN stated. “The second in line in terms of losses are government impostor scams. The monetary damages to military personnel reach $46.5 million. Government impersonation scam is reported most often, with 112,987 reports since 2015.”

Impostor scams’ median loss stands at an average of $1,000.

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