The Department of Veterans Affairs is warning veterans of a scam involving a scam related to its Veterans Choice Program (VCP) hotline. The VCP hotline is available for veterans seeking to determine if they are eligible for the VCP which is a benefit program for eligible veterans to receive health care in their communities. The VCP hotline number is 866-606-8198. Scammers, however have set up a phony VCP hotline number of 800-606-8198 by which they attempt to trick veterans who may use the toll free 800 number instead of the toll free 866 number in attempting to reach the hotline. Veterans calling the wrong number are then asked under various pretenses to provide a credit card and they end up becoming victims of identity theft.
This is not a new scam. In the past, scammers have obtained telephone numbers that are just a digit off from those of bank customer service numbers and then ask unsuspecting callers who misdialed their bank for banking information which was also used to make the caller a victim of identity theft.
You never can be sure who is actually on the other end of the line when you receive a call, but you also have to be careful when making calls because of scams like this. In this particular scam, the scammers have not been indicating that you have reached the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, but you can’t rely on this because future scammers may not follow the protocol of the present scammers. Always be extra careful when calling numbers where you can be expected to provide personal information.