Senate Special Committee Holds Hearing on Scams Against Veterans

Law Firm Newswire



Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) December 23, 2019 – Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), ranking member of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, held a hearing on November 6 concerning scams targeting veterans. Committee members sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) expressing their concerns and asking what is being done to combat the problem.

Committee members heard from a veteran who was the target of a scam, a Vet to Vet volunteer, a senior law enforcement official with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and committee members. The committee hearing brought attention to the enormity of the problem. According to Carroll Harris with the Postal Inspection Service, veterans are twice as likely as others to be the target of a scam. The stories heard by the committee put a face to the scam targets.

LaVerne Foreman, an 82-year-old veteran, lost money to a scam that began with a call seeking a donation for disabled veterans. A Vet to Vet volunteer related a story where he helped avoid a scam involving an ad for free in-home care for veterans. Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ), a veteran and member of the committee, said she often gets scam offers.

A November 2017 AARP study found more veterans lost money to scams (16 percent) than others (eight percent) in the past five years. The study found that 78 percent of veterans received a scam attempt in the last five years. Veteran victims of fraud experienced more negative life events – like significant debt, family problems, serious injury and mental health or addiction issues – than non-victims. Victims were more likely to donate to charities that support service personnel and veterans.

In a letter, signed by 13 of the 15 committee members, to Robert Wilkie, VA Secretary, senators expressed their concern about veterans being targeted by scammers. The senators requested answers to questions, including whether the VA has examined the extent of scams against veterans, whether the VA is working with federal and state agencies to protect veterans from financial frauds, and what the VA has done to educate veterans and their families about these frauds. The letter requested a response by November 21.

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