Southeast Louisiana Veterans Health Care System
Veterans Targeted in Benefits Scams
U.S. veterans who receive calls or recorded messages claiming to be from "veterans services" should have their guard up.
According to reports by the Leader-Herald in Saratoga Springs, NY, and KARE11, an NBC station in Minneapolis, scam callers are attempting to elicit financial and other personal information from veterans. Callers may tell vets there is a new type of veterans benefit related to home loans. The reports say the scammers use caller ID spoofing to deceive their intended victims.
The scammers often leave voice messages, following a script that goes something like this: Your VA profile was flagged for two potential benefits to the changes in the VA program. These are time sensitive entitlements. Please call us back at your earliest convenience.
The voicemail includes a fraudulent call-back number for "veterans services." Potential victims who call the number are offered "benefits," such as loan modifications to their mortgages, then asked for personal information, including social security numbers, dates of birth and bank account numbers.
Scammers who gain access to such information can use it to steal money from bank accounts or credit cards, or sell the information to other bad actors for use in identity theft fraud.
Other recurring phone scams preying on veterans include the "Update Your Military File" scam, the "Veteran Charity" scam and the "Veterans Choice Program" scam, according to an article in Forbes.
An AARP article about veterans scams reports nearly 80 percent of veterans they surveyed reported being targeted by scams related to their military service.
If you get a call that offers any of the above "services," hang up immediately. If you get a voice message, write down the callback number and contact law enforcement to report the scam. Also, file a complaint with the FCC at consumercomplaints.fcc.gov.
Any unexpected calls requesting personal or financial information should always raise a red flag.