I have written many times over the years about scams targeting veterans and with good reason. While scams affect us all, according to a witness at a recent Senate Committee on Aging hearing, veterans are twice as likely to be scammed than the general population and when they are scammed, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) they lose 33% more money than scammed civilians. I was informed about the new veterans scam that is the subject of today’s Scam of the day by nationally syndicated talk show host Jim Bohannon who is also a Vietnam War veteran.
The new scam starts with a phone call that through “spoofing” manipulates your Caller ID to make it appear that the call is coming from “Department of Veterans affairs, 1-800-827-1000.” However, as I have indicated numerous times in the past, it is simple for a criminal to trick your Caller ID to make it appear that a call is coming from a legitimate source, when it is actually coming from a scammer. Posing as Department of Veterans Affairs employees, the scammers leave voice messages such as “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 scammers leave a phone number for the targeted veterans to return the call. Upon returning the phone call, the veteran is told about various benefits, such as mortgage modifications. The scammer then asks the targeted victim for his or her Social Security number, birth date and bank account numbers. This information is used for purposes of identity theft and to steal from the victim’s bank account.
In regard to calls that you may receive purporting to be from the VA or any other governmental agency requesting information, you should never provide information over the phone to anyone calling you because, as I indicated above, you can never be sure who is really calling. In this case, if you think the original call may be legitimate, you should contact the VA at a telephone number that you know is accurate to confirm whether or not the request for personal information was legitimate or not. Here is link to the Veterans Administration website where in the top right hand corner is a section providing you with information as to how to contact the VA. https://www.va.gov/
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