The Camp Lejeune update in the PACT Act of 2022, which was signed into law in August, brought with it some much-needed help for anyone whose health was impacted by the contaminated water at the base.
Those affected can now pursue legal action against the federal government for the health issues they have or may have in the future, both for themselves and their families that may have also lived there at the time.
Unfortunately, with all good things, there come people and organizations who take advantage.
Since the passing of this legislation, there have been many opportunities for this to occur.
From fraudulent emails and websites to misleading attorneys and businesses, it’s important to know what kind of scams are out there and the best ways to avoid them.
Seven in 10 military veterans and active-duty service members have fallen victim of at least one digital crime, according to a 2002 poll.
Data from the Federal Trade Commission supports these findings. Veterans, active-duty service members and their families are at a “higher risk” of fraud and identity theft than other US adults.
Disabled veterans were also at high risk, with many impacted by medical-related campaigns target toward their diagnosis’. The most targeted populations being those with PTSD and mental health disorders, those affected by Camp Lejeune water contamination and those with hearing loss related issues.
The FTC says $267 million in total losses among the military community were reported in 2021, up to 118 from $122 million in 2020.
As reported by AARP, individual victims within the military community reported losing more money than their civilian counterparts, with a median loss of $600, compared with $500 for civilians.
Veterans are more concerned with digital crime than “traditional” crimes like home invasions and mugging. Read how you can protect yourself from these dangers.
Types of Potential Scams
Perhaps the most commonly mentioned type of scams, and the most recognizable form of online scams, are phishing emails and text messages.
Phishing refers to any attempt to get you to give up personal information, such as your social security number, date of birth, financial information, etc. These emails are designed to look real.
They also come in all shapes and sizes. For example, some may tell you that you’re missing out or at a huge risk by not giving up information. They may also say they need your information right away, so you can “stay safe.”
Another commonly mentioned type of scam is called fine print scams.
Nearly every online service you use has terms and conditions on which we must agree, and they are usually very long and tedious to read.
As a result, oftentimes we may click ‘yes’ or ‘I agree’ without putting a lot of thought into it.
However, less reputable organizations may use this to their advantage to give them an opportunity to legally take money from you.
For example, an attorney might state that they have a right to a retainer upfront, or they can transfer you to another lawyer who may also receive compensation because of the agreement you signed.
Spoofing or a scammer impersonating a VA office or official, is another reoccurring spam problem, similar to phishing, where the scammer is attempting to get personal information.
3rd Party Software and Malware is always a concern when it comes to emails from sources you do not recognize.
Links that you click on could download unwanted and often malicious software onto your device.
It’s important to be diligent about these types of scams, especially with all of the Camp Lejeune information being sent to Veterans and their families.
Only open emails and receive texts and calls from sources you trust.
Signs That It’s a Scam
Scammers say there’s a PROBLEM or a PRIZE/FINANCIAL GAIN.
They may say there’s a problem with your account or the information you gave.
They promise that you’ll get a monetary reward for working with them. They stress urgency.
Scammers PRESSURE you to act immediately.
If someone is trying to get you to act without time to think, you may want to question their intentions.
Scammers tell you to PAY in a specific way or upfront.
They often insist you send money in a certain way, give out financial information quickly, or try and get money from you before providing you with services.
How to Prevent Being Scammed
Resist the temptation to act immediately.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the most important thing to do to protect yourself from these fraudulent schemes is to never give your personal information or financial information out to anyone you didn’t expect or someone who is pressuring you to.
Remember that scammers trying to get you to pay upfront fees may not be looking out for your best interest, and it may be beneficial to stop and talk to someone you trust or get a second (or even third) opinion. Trust reputable sources.
Block all unwanted calls and text messages.
If a company contacts you that you do business with and think it’s real, it’s still best practice not to click on links or give out personal information until you know.
Contact them through their official website or phone number.
The Best Way to Protect Yourself? Be in the Know!
The absolute #1 recommended way to protect yourself from scammers of all varieties, including those maliciously using the legislation about Camp LeJeune, is to know your information.
An informed veteran stays safe from these types of fraud.
Veterans should be cautious of anyone who guarantees a lucrative financial benefit or service. To report suspected fraudulent activity, please contact at email@example.com or call (800) 488-8244.
We are sorry that this post was not as useful for you!
Help us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?