FBI Portland
Portland Media Office
(503) 460-8060
November 6, 2018

Oregon FBI Tech Tuesday: Building a Digital Defense for Veterans

Welcome to the Oregon FBI’s Tech Tuesday segment. Today: Building a digital defense for our veterans.

Next week we honor the work and sacrifices that members of the U.S. military have made on behalf of all Americans with our Veterans Day celebrations. With that upcoming recognition, we thought it would also be a good time to warn our vets about those who might want to profit off your service.

To that end, we have some information to share courtesy of our partners at the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

The education benefits that you receive as a veteran can be a big help as you transition from your time in service to life outside the military. That ability to pay for tuition, housing, and books can mean the world to someone who has served. Traditional college, on-the-job and apprentice training, correspondence courses, and even tutoring assistance are all possible based on time in service and other factors.

Be warned though—there are some for-profit schools and outside programs that are looking to cash in on your benefits by overstating their success rates while overcharging you for the education you are receiving. Of particular concern are those schools or programs that:

  • Exaggerate their job placement rates and their transfer credit rates.
  • Pressure you to signing up for classes that you don’t need.
  • Encourage you to take out big loans to cover additional expenses, leaving you with a pile of extra debt.

If you are a veteran who is looking to take advantage of this important benefit, here are a few things to help keep you safe:

  • Don’t let a college or program recruiter rush you into a decision.
  • Do your research and ask lots of questions.
  • Use the Department of Education’s College Navigator program (https://nces.ed.gov/collegenavigator/) to check out a particular college’s profit/non-profit status as well as details about their accreditation, student loan rates, student default rates, and graduation rates.

If in doubt, check with the FTC or the VA to learn more.

Next week, we will continue our discussion of how to protect older veterans from scams targeting their pensions and more.

As always, if you have been victimized by a cyber fraud, be sure to report it to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov or call your local FBI office.