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Fraud Watch Network Alert: Veterans Beware

Posted on 11/13/18

Veterans protected our country with sacrifice and service. Now, AARP is working to protect veterans from scams that target veterans and their guaranteed benefits.

Targeting veterans can take many forms:

  • The Update Your Military File Scam: A caller claims to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs and asks to “update” your information, but really is hoping to get personal information to steal your credit.
  • Veterans Choice Program (VCP) Scam: Scammers set up a phone number nearly identical to the number veterans dial to find out if they are eligible to use approved health care providers outside of the VA system. A recorded message or a person answering the phone tells the caller of a rebate he can get by supplying credit card information. Make sure to dial the correct number for the VCP: 1-866-606-8198.
  • Charity Scams: A caller claims to be raising money for disabled veterans or veterans with cancer. They play on sympathy to try to evoke an immediate response. But often, the so-called charity is not registered with the government and/or uses most of the money to raise more funds and pay their salaries.
  • The Cash for Benefits Scheme: Predatory lenders target veterans in need of money by offering cash in exchange for future disability or pension payments. These buyouts are typically a fraction of the value of the benefit.
  • Employment Scams: Con artists post bogus job offers to recruit veterans on various online job boards. The scammer may use or sell your personal information provided in the job application. It’s likely a scam if you have to pay to get the job, you need to supply credit card or banking information, or the ad is for “previously undisclosed” federal government jobs.

What you should know:

  • If you are a veteran, you are unfortunately a target, so be mindful of this reality in your day-to-day transactions.
  • The Veterans Administration will never call you, e-mail or text you to verify or update your information.
  • The old adage applies here – if it’s too good to be true, it usually is.

What you can do:

  • Check out charities at charitynavigator.org before giving any money. Make donations directly to the veterans’ organizations you know.
  • Only work with VA-accredited representatives when dealing with VA benefits; you can search for them online at the VA Office of General Counsel website.
  • Visit org/veterans to download your copy of the AARP Watchdog Alert Handbook: 9 Ways Con Artists Target Veterans.

If you think you’ve been the victim of fraud, contact the Oklahoma Attorney General’s office by visiting www.ok.gov/oag or calling 1-405-521-3921 or 1-918-581-2885. When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourselves and your loved ones from scams. Please share this with friends and family.

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