Consumer watch dogs warn about pension poachers who target veterans

A warning to vets and their families

He served as a naval officer in both World War II and the Korean War, but now Rudolph Giddnes is 90 and a target once again.

Rudolph's daughter, Jan Crockett, said a financial planner recently approached the family at the assisted living facility where her dad lives. The man claimed he was with the VA and could help Giddnes enhanced his benefits.

Hillsborough County's Veterans Affairs Director Frank Strom said the people behind these pitches introduce themselves as veterans’ advocates when in most cases they are not accredited with the VA.

Crockett said in her dad's case the salesman claimed he would need to move her father’s assets out of state in order for him to qualify for greater pension benefits.

In other cases Strom said these so-called advisers or pension poachers charge veterans to fill out paperwork related to benefits claims, which is illegal.

Military families can turn to local county advocates or volunteer organizations for free assistance when it comes to maximizing or applying for benefits.

Crockett reported the financial planner who approached her dad to both the county and the VA. Veterans and their families can turn to the VFW, American Legion, and their county's local veteran affairs office for free help with claims.

To check if a planner is VA accredited. Just go to .