The North Carolina Department of Justice is warning citizens of a scam that targets veterans.
According to a news release issued this week, this scam exploits the Veterans Choice Program, a government initiative that allows some vets to use health care providers outside the VA system. The program has a toll-free telephone number that vets and their families can use to check their eligibility. Crooks have set up a telephone number that is almost identical, which they are publicizing in a letter to veterans.
Vets who call the fake number are told they are entitled to a rebate if they provide a credit card number. There’s no rebate, but charges will be made against the credit card account. The family of a North Carolina veteran received the letter and contacted the NCDOJ about this scam. Fortunately they did not fall for it.
Scammers commonly utilize look-alikes (logos and fonts that are similar to those used by real companies, agencies, and charities) and sound-alikes (names that are similar to the real thing) to trick us. In this instance, the “hook” is a telephone number that is very close to the actual number.
If you are a vet, or you are helping a vet access health care, remember:
Dial carefully. The real Veterans Choice Program number is 866-606-8198.
If you are not sure you are on the line with the actual Veterans Choice Program, hang up and start over.
Be skeptical. No government agency, including the VA, will ask for your personal financial account information in this way. If the person on the phone does, they may not be who they say they are.
If you are contacted by a scammer, report it to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division by calling 1-877-5-NO-SCAM or by filing a complaint online.