VFW warns vets about potential scams related to the PACT Act

VFW CrossOfMaltaThe Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) is warning veterans to be vigilant about scams arising following the passage of the historic Sergeant First Class Heath Robinson Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act of 2022.

They issued a news release on January 10 about this risk. This is what it says:

According to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), since the law’s passage, there has been an increase in PACT Act-related phishing, vishing and social media scams targeting veterans to access their PACT Act benefits or submit claims on their behalf for a fee. The VFW has launched PACT Act Info, a consumer information initiative to provide veterans with guidance on eligibility, protection from scams and direct referrals to free, expert assistance in filing VA claims.

“We want veterans to know there is no need to pay for consultations or any kind of assistance to pursue PACT Act benefits” said Ryan Gallucci, director of VFW National Veterans Service. “Through the new law, more health conditions than ever before have been deemed presumptive to military service, so the burden of proof is minimal.”

The VFW National Veterans Service trains and oversees a global network of more than 2,000 veterans service officers who are accredited by VA to file benefit claims on behalf of any veteran, regardless of VFW membership. VFW Accredited Service Officers walk the veteran through the entire process, from determining eligibility and the initial filing, to the decision and any additional appeal actions all free of charge, as required by law.

“Firms that charge fees for providing a service or consultation and promise faster, more accurate results are generally misleading the veteran,” Gallucci emphasized. “There is no magic bullet or way to make the process go any faster or influence the outcome.”

The PACT Act was signed into law on August 10, 2022, and expands VA health care and benefits for veterans exposed to burn pits, Agent Orange and other toxic substances and is arguably the largest health care and benefit expansion in VA history.

“The VFW was instrumental in passage of the PACT Act to secure the life-changing legislation for veterans, but our mission does not end there,” said Borland. “Now comes the hard work of ensuring every veteran receives the care and benefits they have earned, without paying unnecessary fees. To that end, VFW’s PACT Act Info initiative serves to educate and safeguard veterans and connect them with free, VFW Accredited Service Officers.”

Veterans are encouraged to go to www.pactactinfo.org where they can:

  • Check on potential eligibility for PACT Act benefits.
  • Connected with a VFW-Accredited Services Officer who can help them free of charge.
  • Learn more about the PACT Act with a comprehensive FAQ section.
  • Join the VFW’s mission to support veterans, service members and their families.

- VFW -

If you've been subjected to a scam attempt like this, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.

File a Fraud Report


Scammers appeal to parent's worst fears to try and trick them

scam call s956Scammers seem to be getting a bit more sophisticated in their approaches. The person who reported this is "Dave."

According to Dave, he received a call from someone who identified himself as his son. The caller sounded "frantic," saying he'd just been in a car accident. He could also hear sirens and police chatter on a radio in the background.

Then, someone else got on the phone and identified himself as “Daniel Harris,” and said he was calling “from the courthouse.” He told Dave that his son had been in a an accident, and that it was the son's fault because he had been using a cell phone while driving.

Dave was instantly suspicious because, although he has a son, he's only 13-years-old and obviously not driving yet. He did say, however, that the scammer seemed to know some other things about his son, possibly from trolling social media.

Dave asked for his supervisor and “Daniel” said he was in a meeting. Dave heard in the background: “This one’s an a**hole.”

The number used was (757) 832-5475. Dave said he believed these people were American - based on their diction - and not people running a scam from an offshore location.

Although Dave was savvy enough to pick up on the fact that this was a scam, he's concerned that others might not. He told us: "It was pretty clever and scary and I could see some parents easily falling for this."

We want to remind everyone that when you make personal Information available on social media, this can be enough for scammers to get their hooks into an unsuspecting victim.

Never provide more information or send money to someone calling you like this. Instead, report the fraud attempt.

If you've been subjected to a scam attempt like this, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.

File a Fraud Report


Holidays bring more efforts by scammers to target veterans and servicemembers

Holidays - particularly those that honor veterans or other servicemembers, but really all holidays, have become prime opportunities for scammers to try and trick this particular group of people into revealing personal information that can give the scammer access to bank accounts and other financial assets.

Knowing how large our military community is here in Norfolk (and surrounding communities), the Consumer Protection Unit (CPU) at the Norfolk Sheriff's Office wants to share this warning from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) with residents about this problem:

veteransday 2022 imposterscams 1200x630Imposters are contacting veterans, servicemembers, and their families. They pretend to be representatives of USAA Bank, Navy Federal Credit Union, and other banks. They’re asking for information — like your Social Security, bank account, or credit or debit card number, or your password. They’re saying that your debit card has been blocked, they’ve detected fraudulent activity, or some other urgent excuse. (These, by the way, are all lies.)

You may get one of these unexpected calls or voicemails from your bank, or even a surprise text or email with a link that includes an official-looking logo (also all fake). These are from scammers who want your information to get into your accounts or steal your identity. And if you click on the fake link, they could install malware on your phone or computer, which could give them complete access to your device and information.

Here’s how to protect yourself:

    • Don’t trust caller ID. Scammers fake the number they call from. Never call back phone numbers from your caller ID or those left in voicemails.
    • Never give personal information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue. Financial institutions won’t ask you for personal information or passcodes. If you think it could be legit, contact the company using a website or phone number you know is real.
    • Don’t click links in unexpected texts or emails. Those are often phishing scams. If you’ve clicked a link by mistake, update your phone’s and computer’s security software.

Suspect a scam? Report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and visit MilitaryConsumer.gov for more resources. Also, read more about the FTC’s rulemaking proposal to combat impersonation scams.

If you've been subjected to a scam attempt like this, please contact the Norfolk Sheriff's Office's Consumer Protection Unit to file a report.

File a Fraud Report


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811 E. City Hall Avenue
Norfolk, VA 23510

(757) 664-4700

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