The Good and Bad of Veterans Day: Freebies, Discounts and Fraud

Perhaps you’re a veteran yourself. Maybe you have a family member, close friend, neighbor, or loved one who has served-or who is currently serving.

Although veterans deserve our support every day of the year, it’s a great time to highlight the ways businesses and organizations everywhere are honoring veterans.

Unfortunately it’s also a time when those who deserve our utmost respect may fall victim to crooks and scammers. But we’ll focus on the good stuff first. 

Freebies and discounts from big national names. From popular chain restaurants to national parks to amusement parks to retail stores, Veterans Day offers and discounts abound – and in some cases, they last throughout the weekend or even the rest of the month. This national list of deals for veterans comes from (a good site service members to bookmark if they haven’t already). The editor wisely notes to call ahead to verify locations, times, and participation since some locations may have different policies; also be prepared to provide proof of service.

Veterans and spouses also can take advantage of AARP’s Driver Safety Program class offer this month, free to veterans of any age. It might even earn you an insurance discount depending on your state.

It never hurts to ask – plus check for local discounts. Find local deals for veterans by checking web sites your newspaper or local TV and radio stations. Many have compiled lists of local merchants honoring veterans. Or let your fingers do the walking online; enter your location + discounts + veterans into your favorite search engine. In some cases you might be able to “stack” multiple savings opportunities together using AARP discount programs or ones from other sources. Just bring the coupons and ask when you’re there.

Beware of scams, whether you’re a vet or want to help veterans. “It is unconscionable that one of the most dedicated and selfless segments of our population would be targeted by unscrupulous businesses, but they are,” said Brenda Linnington, director of the Better Business Bureau’s Military Line. Here’s a link to some common scams veterans should be aware of, and information via about how to determine which veterans’ charities are legitimate and how some are more effective and do it better than others.

Let’s end on a positive note by thanking and honoring our veterans, AARP style, from a new generation of Rolling Thunder to how retired soldiers are helping younger troops. And if you know a veteran of any age who isn’t online often, tell them that lots of people in cyberspace are thinking of them, too.

Photo by Speedye via Flickr Creative Commons