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ASVAB Scams Prey on New Recruits

Military communities have always been the target of scammers, but in 2024, the scams have become more sophisticated. Potential new recruits are the latest victims of “pay-for-free-help” scams around the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, or ASVAB.

Military Test Scams And Test Prep Scams

In the last five years, scammers have aggressively targeted certain aspects of the military community. Many attempts to swindle military members and their loved ones are associated with test prep schemes, whether for college credit or entry into the United States military.

For example? In 2021, military-themed blogs reported on a scam trend targeting military members and other prospective students looking for college test prep materials.

The 2021 scams had identifying traits, including direct sales calls to servicemembers’s private phone numbers, offers to help veterans get college credit without attending school, and credit offers to help scam victims pay for “prep services” that don’t work as advertised.

Back then, the advice included a warning to contact your nearest Base Education Office to learn what free college test prep options were offered before you paid for such materials.

Beware of any attempt to sell you multiple prep services at once with an upfront payment required, offers of credit, and, most importantly, any contact with you that you did not initiate yourself.

Read next: Active Duty Military Benefits Guide

ASVAB Test Prep Scams

In 2024, reports of recruiting scams included variations on a theme: scammers would find a legitimate recruiter in a local area, copy that person’s social media profile, and pretend to be that recruiter. The catch? These fake recruiters try to charge a fee to help potential basic trainees pass the ASVAB.

This is typically done via Facebook or other social media, making it difficult for a victim to know whether the offer is real. Scammers haunt legitimate social media groups where many people gather to ask questions and share stories.

Scammers may contact unsuspecting victims (often very young people with little or no experience with scams) to offer ASVAB test prep help for fees between $100 and $500.

ASVAB prep is something recruiters encourage, but they should in no way accept money to help you prepare for any military-related entrance processing, testing, exams, etc.

Some scammers offer to drive their victims to military processing appointments for a fee. The money is paid in advance, but the “MEPS Shuttle” never shows up, and the scammers walk away counting the money.

It gets worse. Scammers also look for popular military bloggers and YouTube personalities and try the same tricks. When legitimate military bloggers start getting complaints of being scammed, it is typically because somebody else is impersonating them online and duping people into sending them cash.

Ways To Spot A Fake Recruiter Online

  • A real recruiter will never ask you for money for any reason. There are no costs associated with joining the military or taking the ASVAB.
  • A legitimate recruiter does not ask you for personal photographs or offer to drive a potential recruit as a passenger in a private automobile, and should not communicate using Google or other unofficial email addresses. Your recruiter should communicate with you using a .mil email address.
  • A recruiter should typically not use social media as their primary form of contact with you. They should direct you to reply to their official email address or recruiting phone number.
  • A recruiter should not “get personal” with you over social media or ask inappropriate personal questions.
  • A legitimate military recruiter will always have her military ID on her and identify themselves properly when asked.
  • A recruiter should always be in uniform when performing official duties, and military recruiters are not meant to interact with their recruits unofficially.
  • Be wary of those who ask you to meet outside “official” spaces, such as a recruiting office or recruiting stand at an event.
  • While it may not be a direct breach of professionalism to ask you to meet at a coffee shop or cafe to discuss recruiting, such meetings should always feature the recruiter in uniform, and the focus should be your military plans and prep. It’s not a social occasion.

If you are on social media and a recruiter tries to contact you, get the number of the local recruiting office in your area and call it directly to ask whether the recruiter is legitimate. That’s how many scams are detected, but victims are the ones who make that call after it’s too late and they have already paid for things they won’t be getting.

Read next: Active Duty Military Benefits Guide


About the author


Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.