New Scam Targets Veterans
Callers falsely claim VA has changed procedures
By Mark Huffman
September 22, 2009
Scammers have figured out a new way to steal credit card numbers and other sensitive financial information. They target military veterans, pretending to be working for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
In the scheme, the caller tells the veteran that the VA is updating its prescription information and asks for the victim's credit card information.
"America’s Veterans have become targets in an inexcusable scam that dishonors their service and misrepresents the Department built for them," said Dr. Gerald Cross, VA’s Under Secretary for Health. "VA simply does not call Veterans and ask them to disclose personal financial information over the phone."
The scam was brought to the VA's attention earlier this month by several veteran service organizations, which heard from their members about the suspicious calls. The VA says veterans should not be fooled by a caller who claims the VA is updating is procedures for dispensing prescriptions.
"VA has not changed its processes for dispensing prescription medicines," Cross said. "Nor has VA changed its long-standing commitment to protect the personal information of this nation’s Veterans."
At the state level, law enforcement officials say they are stepping up their anti-scam efforts and have added the veterans scam to the growing list of known schemes they talk about. Ohio Attorney General Cordray reminds all Ohioans to be wary of any call soliciting personal information such as credit card or social security numbers.
"I strongly recommend never giving out personal information over the phone when someone calls you," said Cordray. "Scammers thrive on their ability to catch us off-guard. The best defense in these situations is to play offense. Take control of the conversation and ask the caller if you can call them back. Take the time to research the legitimacy of the call."