Robots Inform Veterans of Extra Benefits
July 8, 2018
Scammers have created a new scam using “Robocalls,” a computer driven device that automatically and repeatedly contacts veterans. The scammers moto is, “Buy until they die.” In other words, veterans will be contacted over and over until they give money to scammers. Unfortunately, some veterans are paying scammers just to get them to stop the non-stop calls.
The telephone calls appear to come from a local VA, and inform veterans about benefits waiting for them to claim.
The message will say something such as, “We [VA] are trying to contact you because your VA profile was flagged for two potential benefits.” The scammer will complete the message be stating that the benefits are “time sensitive” and the veteran must act now.
The technology used by the scammers to make telephone calls appear legitimate and local is known as “Neighbor Spoofing.” The technology tricks the recipient’s caller ID information to make it appear as if the call was placed locally.
Veterans who believe they have been a victim of this scam are encouraged to file a complaint with the FCC immediately.
Three Highly Active Scams Taking Lots of Money From Veterans
According to AARP, there are three (3) highly effective scams targeting veterans that appear to be rampant throughout the Nation. The scams are stealthy, and pervasive. Veterans may be victims and not know they have fallen victim to the scam.
Veterans are advised to be weary of the following three scams:
1. Charitable Donations Scams – This scam involves scammers posing as a charitable organization in an attempt to get donations from veterans.
Tip: Verify all charities before making a donation and never send cash, wire money, pay in gift cards or use other untraceable methods of payment. Donors who are not familiar with a charitable organization can verify official organizations on CharityNavigator.org.
2. Military Discounts and Free Programs Scams – With the wave of veteran-friendly merchants in the past decade offering veterans discounts and freebies, professional scammers are taking advantage of this noble support effort by targeting veterans and claiming to offer military discounts or access to free goods and services through special government programs.
Tip: If a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Many legitimate organizations do offer genuine discounts for veterans, but first research offers online and with the Better Business Bureau. Or, visit Veterans Discount Directory, which is the only online system in place that telephone verifies all discounts and freebies being offered to veterans.
3. U.S. Soldier Impersonation Scams – This scam consists of scammers posing as actual active duty servicemembers who pretends that he or she needs financial help, a donation for their military unit, free goods and services, or money needed for an emergency. It has been reported that some of the scammers use the name of a veterans unit that he or she was assigned to while they were on active duty. Also, the scammers open fake social media accounts and use real names and photos of active duty servicemembers just in case someone researches them online.
Tip: If anyone you do not know contacts you and quickly asks for money it is most likely a scam. The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command recommends soldiers and their families actively search social media sites to see if a scammer is using their name and information. Soldiers are instructed to conduct a Google image search of their social media profile pictures. If a soldier or a family member is being impersonated the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command can help immediately.