American Legion fights back against veteran-targeted scams

According to the FBI, each year elderly Georgians lose tens of millions of dollars to fraudsters. 

Leaders of the North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force say elderly veterans can be particularly vulnerable to these scams.  

"We have a lot of targeting of everyone over the age of 65 and veterans' groups are one of those groups that frequently get targeted," said Dan Flynn, former Chief of Marietta Police and current Deputy Law Enforcement Coordinator for the Task Force.  

Flynn says these scammers have no qualms about going after America’s finest.  

"These people are trained professionals who are trained in the psychology of victimization, they know how to establish a rapport with you, and they are absolutely heartless," Flynn said.  

Last year, Georgia ranked in the top ten states in the U.S. for the most money lost by those over 60 to scammers. 

He says there are so many cases we don’t even know about. 

"Only on in roughly 40 scam cases is ever reported to the police at all," Flynn said.  

Flynn says right now, Vietnam veterans are some of the most vulnerable because of their age. 

"The most common type of scam we see among veterans are romance scams," Flynn said.  

That’s why he and the Task Force try to educate veterans. 

At the American Legion Post 29 in Marietta, Commander Jeff Garland says they’re very aware of how often their members are targeted by scammers.  

"It’s our responsibility to help them out and be in a position to at least advise them on some of the ways they can and may be getting scammed," Garland said.  

That’s why he says once a month they invite the North Georgia Elder Abuse Task Force to come speak to the veterans there.  

Flynn shared some of the tips he usually shares with the veterans.  

"Make sure you never send money to someone you haven’t met. You can’t win the lottery if you didn't play. The police will never call you to tell you they’re coming to arrest you," he said.  

He and the task force routinely travel the northern part of the state talking to different American Legion posts.