PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) — Veterans who fought and sacrificed for freedom are now being hunted by scammers.

Virginia is home to 726,000 veterans and active-duty military members. According to AARP, one in three reported losing money to scams last year.

A recent survey from AARP, shows veterans and active-duty military families are 40% more likely to lose money to scams than civilians. According to the Federal Trade Commission, Individuals reported losing more than $267 million in 2021 — that’s up a whopping 162% from the year before.

That’s why AARP launched this new Veteran’s Online Resource Center.

“For me, being an Army Desert Storm veteran, you know, any scams that are targeting the military community for me is just unbelievable,” U.S. Army Veteran and AARP Senior Advisor for Veteran and Military Families Initiative Troy Broussard told WAVY.

Broussard said he is excited to share the new weapon that will help military families fight back. It includes a scam tracking map so you can see exactly where con artists are operating. It also tells you how the crooks gain your trust.

“These scammers are highly sophisticated and they are focused to look for military personnel and utilize … some of the military jargon that we do have,” Broussard said.

Referencing a DD214 form, for instance, may bring down a military member’s guard making them vulnerable to the “benefit buyout” scam. That’s where scammers get veterans to turn over their pension or disability benefits for a lump sum that never comes.

Another one to watch is the fraudulent records scam. Remember, veterans never have to pay for forms.

Also, Broussard warned to beware of fake charities that prey on veterans’ sense of duty.

“We look for that second mission once we’ve served our country and that second mission is to give back,” he said.

AARP Virginia will host attendees from across the U.S. for a free virtual event at 9 a.m. Friday, April 22. The 5th Annual Scam Jam aims to help you spot and avoid scams. To sign up, click here.