Highly Sophisticated Scam Tartgeting Veterans
June 30, 2016
Veterans beware! There is a new scam sweeping the country targeting U.S. veterans. This highly sophisticated scam involves the use of new telephonic technology, and a well-orchestrated cast of scam artists who mimic Veterans Affairs (VA) culture. Unfortunately, the scam has already ripped off thousands of veterans – don’t be the next victim.
The scam uses sophisticated telephonic technology that imitates VA operating signatures, thus, giving the impression via caller ID that the veteran is receiving a telephone call from the VA. Most veterans will see the following on their call ID system: “Department of Veterans Affairs, 1-800-827-1000.”
The second part of the scam involves the scam artists pretending to be VA personnel. The scam artists are using scripted material to mimic the culture of VA personnel by implementing processes that would be used when a veteran contacts the VA. Most veterans are getting the following:
Scam artists: “Hello, Mr. Smith, this is John from the VA, I’m contacting you because the VA is reaching out to veterans to ensure the accuracy of their records with us. Do you have a minute to go over your records at the VA?
Scam artists: “Before I get started, thank you for your service.”
Veteran: “No problem.”
Scam artists: “Mr. Smith, can you verify what branch of the military you served?”
Veteran: “The Army.”
Scam artists: “Ok. Thank you. Can you verify your current address?”
Veteran: “555 Main St., Topeka, Kansas.”
Scam artists: “Ok. Great! Can you verify your birthday?”
Veteran: “July 10, 1947.”
Scam artists: “Please verify your last compensation payment amount.”
At this point, if the veteran provides information and gives an amount, the scam artists are using another script that eventually leads to asking the veteran to verify their social security number. If the veteran refuses to give information, the scam artists inform the veteran that he/she needs to be transferred to the Finance department. Then, the scam continues as:
Scam artists: “This is Mike in the Finance department. How are you Mr. Smith?”
Veteran: “I’m ok.”
Scam artists: “As John mentioned to you, we [VA] are reaching out to veterans to ensure the accuracy of their information on file with the VA. We want to make sure nothing happens to your current or future payments from the VA. Is that ok with you Mr. Smith?”
Scam artists: “Mr. Smith can you verify your social security number on file with the VA?”
Scam artists: “Great! Thank you. Also, can you verify the credit card we have on file for you?”
Veteran: “I don’t have a credit card on file with the VA. Do I need to have a credit card on file?”
Scam artists: “Yes! To make sure any incidentals are covered. In 99.9% of the cases, the credit card is never used, and if the credit card is used it will never exceed $10. Public law, and VA policy makes it necessary we have a credit card on file just in case something comes up that is not covered by the VA. So, what card would you like to keep on file? We take Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover. Which would you like to use?”
If you get a call from the “VA” and the scenario resembles anything close to the narrative above, terminate the telephone call. It is likely you are being scammed.
Please remember, the VA will never ask you for personally identifiable information over the phone. Never!