Below are some of the latest scams aimed at veterans that are designed to separate
them from their money and/or identity. Do not allow yourself to become a victim.
DFAS Email Scam
An email spoofing scam is targeting individuals receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs suggesting they may be able to obtain additional funds from the IRS. The emails look like they are from, but are not issued by a DFAS employee. Do not send your personal information, copies of your tax returns or 1099s to the individual listed in the email. Read more at www.dfas.mil
Although the email appears to come from a DFAS employee and displays a dot mil address, it is actually from a non-government email account. The email indicates that individuals receiving VA disability compensation can receive additional funds from the IRS. The email states that such funds can be obtained by sending copies of your VA award letter, your income tax returns, your 1099-Rs, your RAS statements, and a copy of your DD 214, to a so-called retired Colonel at an address in Florida. Do not follow the suggestions in the email because you will be providing a significant amount of your personal information to a complete stranger, which could result in a financial loss to you. Please share this information with your fellow Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, and Marines, military retirees and families so they are aware of this scam.
Beware - scam emails - that appear to be sent by DFAS employees!
There are emails being sent to individuals, including military members, military retirees, and civilian employees, which appear to be sent by a DFAS employee. Although the email appears to come from a DFAS employee and displays a dot mil address it is actually from a non-government email account. This is an example of what's called "spoofing."
The emails indicate that individuals who are receiving disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) may be able to obtain additional funds from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). These emails are not issued by DFAS and will likely result in a financial loss if you comply with the suggestions in the email. Bottom line - do not send your personal information or copies of your tax returns and 1099s to the individual listed in the email.
The email indicates that individuals receiving VA disability compensation can receive additional funds from the IRS. The email states that such funds can be obtained by sending copies of your VA award letter, your income tax returns, your 1099-Rs, your RAS statements, and a copy of your DD 214, to a so-called retired Colonel at an address in Florida. Do NOT follow the suggestions in the email because you will be providing a significant amount of your personal information to a complete stranger, which could result in a financial loss to you.
The 1099-Rs that are issued by DFAS reflect only the taxable portion of a member's retired pay. DFAS is not aware of any legal basis for the alleged additional funds that the IRS would supposedly pay over. By ignoring the email, you will avoid frustration, the release of personal information to a stranger, and the possibility of financial loss by ignoring the email.
If you have any questions or concerns about these or any other tax issues, you should contact a known, reputable tax consultant, tax attorney, or legal assistance officer for advice and assistance. Read our agency email policy available on www.dfas.mil that has been developed to protect customer privacy.
More often than not, scammers will pose as representatives for the Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), the federal agency that provides benefits to veterans and their dependents, including health care, educational assistance, financial assistance and guaranteed home loans.
Scammers will get a vet by saying that changes are being made to certain benefits programs. In Sept. 2009, for example, telephone scammers elicited credit card numbers from unsuspecting veterans by claiming to need the information because the VA had a new drug dispensing system, which was untrue.
ďAmericaís veterans have become targets in an inexcusable scam that dishonors their service and misrepresents the department built for them," Dr. Gerald Cross, VAís Under Secretary for Health, said in a press release. "VA simply does not call Veterans and ask them to disclose personal financial information over the phone."
Veterans for Hire
In Oct. 2009, a scammer targeted younger veterans by posing as a representative of a major government contracting firm that was looking to hire veterans. The scammer contacted his targets via e-mail and told them that he would need a scanned copy of his or her passport before he could formally offer employment. Of course, there was no job to be offered; the scammer just wanted to use the copies to commit identity theft.
Information obtained from a personís passport can be used to open credit card accounts, take out loans, file a fraudulent tax return or apply for government benefits under a false name.
In 2003, a group of predatory financial institutions sought out veterans with the hope of getting them to invest their savings into irrevocable trusts. The move would enable the vets to meet the eligibility requirements for a VA pension and other related programs like Aid and Attendance that pay additional benefits to veterans who need assistance with everyday living. It also, incidentally, nets the investor a decidedly high commission.
The ploy, which still persists today, isnít exactly illegal since the VA does not examine veterans' asset histories when it determines eligibility for a pension. However, this trust usually involves annuities, long-term investments that are considered inappropriate for older retirees. According to AARP, some annuities must be held for a decade or longer before they pay out a monthly income. It can also jeopardize a vetsí Medicaid benefits since the health care provider will look into how a vet went from being well-off to poverty-stricken.
Scams against Families of Fallen Soldiers
Scam intended to obtain personal information from its victims for identity theft purposes have been known to target families of fallen soldiers as well. One traditional scam resurrected recently involves scammers posing as representatives for the Defense Finance and Accounting Office or the Army Human Resources Command. They told families of deceased soldiers that they were entitled to monetary compensation in excess of $12 million.
To get the money, family members were told they have to provide the scammer with personal information like their name, address and social security number, which would be then be used to steal their identity.
VA Warning: "Veterans Affairs Services"
Organization Not Affiliated, Getting Vet IDs.
The Office of the Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has requested dissemination of the following :
An organization called Veterans Affairs Services (VAS) is providing benefit and general information on VA and gathering personal information on veterans. "This organization is not affiliated with VA in any way.
[The organization described itself at its web page at: http://www.vaservices.or/g/us/index.html ]
VAS may be gaining access to military personnel through their close resemblance to the VA name and seal. Our Legal Counsel has requested that we coordinate with DoD to inform military installations, particularly mobilization sites, of this group and their lack of affiliation or endorsement by VA to provide any services. In addition, GC requests that if you have any examples of VAS acts that violate chapter 59 of Title 38 United States Code, such as VAS employees assisting veterans in the preparation and presentation of claims for benefits, please pass any additional information to Mr. Daugherty at the address below.
Michael G. Daugherty,
Department of Veterans Affairs,
Office of General Counsel
This page last updated:
16 January 2013