Veterans and families targeted by scammers

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

AARP and the South Dakota attorney general are teaming up to warn veterans and their families of scammers potentially stealing their benefits and personal information.

Attorney general Marty Jackley spoke at an informational session at VFW Post 1273 in Rapid City on Thursday, and stressed the need to educate veterans and their families about the risks of identity theft, and how to identify scams.

"Veterans have given us so much,” Jackley said. “They and their families have sacrificed a great deal. It's time for us to give back to them, and to make sure we are equipping veterans with the information about the different scams so they can fight back and avoid being part of the victimization we are seeing across the United States.”

Scams targeting veterans come in many forms. Scammers may pretend to be an organization that benefits veterans, or the may impersonate employees from the VA and say the veteran needs to update their addresses and phone numbers.

Veterans may also receive calls about fake employment schemes, where the scammer takes the veteran’s information for a job which doesn’t exist.

According to Doris Ann Werlinger, an AARP information coordinator in Rapid City, veterans and their families need to be careful of who they give their information to.

"South Dakota people are so trustworthy, that we need to be very careful about the information we give to anyone on the phone,” said Werlinger. “If you don't know the number, don't answer it."

If any calls or emails asking for information seem suspicious, officials urge people to report them to the States Attorneys Office by calling 605-773-3215.

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