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Death Benefit Scam
July 14, 2017

Another egregious scam is making its way around the country, and this scam is targeting family members of deceased veterans.  The scammers are using very sophisticated technology to create the kind of ruse to make it look as if they are the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) or local Funeral Home.

Here’s how the scam is carried out.

Shortly after a veteran passes away, a family member, namely a spouse, is seemingly contacted by the VA or local funeral home.  The representative (scammer) will inform the family member that the veteran has a host of death benefits from the VA that is obtainable to the next of kin.  The scammers provide a very long and detailed list of benefits that the next of kin is eligible to obtain.  The scammers then transition to a cancelled insurance policy that will pay the next of kin $50k, $60k, $70k and in some cases over $100k.  The scammers go on to instruct the next of kin to purchase an insurance card (what essentially is a gift card) from the local bank, with some amount determined by the scammer.  According to the scammers, the “insurance card” is used to pay the nominal unpaid portion of the insurance policy, so that the next of kin could get up to $100k in some cases.

If the next of kin passes on the getting the “insurance card,” or hangs up the phone on the scammer, within 15 to 30 minutes, the next of kin will get a telephone call from what appears to be a local funeral home as showing on caller ID [this part of the scam is where the scammers get most of their victims].  The phony funeral home representative (scammer) will inform the next of kin that the person who called from the “VA” was legitimate.  The very persuasive scammer will then take control of the process and inform the next of kin they will handle the situation for the next of kin.  The scammers will use actual names of people who work at local funeral homes. As instructed previously, the funeral home scammer will direct the next of kin to wire money to the phony funeral home or send the so called insurance card immediately.   

 

How to Avoid Being Taken By This Scam

Remember, the VA will conduct benefits business by mail, not the telephone.

     

Charity Scam
July 27, 2017

Veterans and dependents are being warned to keep an eye out for a charity scam that’s taking advantage of their generosity to give to veterans and veterans organizations.

The scam charity goes by the name “Coalition for Veterans of America.”

     

Here’s How The Scam Works

Hundreds of boiler room callers from the scam charity are reaching out to veterans and dependents and informing them they have been selected to assist with a small tax deductible donation that will help aid veteran homelessness and pay for veterans’ medical expenses.  The scammers go on further to inform the veteran or dependent that a nominal thank you gift will be mailed to them as soon as an accurate address in provided.  The scammers are collecting address information to sell, and taking money from veterans and dependents who believe they are helping a worthy cause.  

Be advised, that if you are not familiar with a charity or organization claiming to help veterans, you can verify their authenticity by visiting charitynavigator.org.  Charity Navigator has become the nation's largest and most-utilized evaluator of charities.

Use the following tips to avoid this charity scam:

  • First, do not feel obligated to send money or financial information over the phone.
  • Beware of charities that sound similar to others.
  • Be cautious of invitations to donate via social media; some may be legitimate, but they should be verified before you make a commitment to donate.
  • You should always ask solicitors what percentage of your donation will be given to relief efforts. By law, the solicitor must tell you if you ask.
  • Make sure to avoid wire transfers or giving gift cards as a donation method (major red flag).


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