Veterans, service members susceptible to PACT Act fraud, survey finds
PACT Act scams via phishing, phone, and social media have been reported
(InvestigateTV) — One in 10 veterans have been contacted by someone offering to help them enroll in the new PACT Act benefits, which is a telltale sign of a scam, according to an AARP survey,
Passed into law in 2022, the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act expands access to VA healthcare benefits for more than five million veterans who were exposed to burn pits, agent orange and other toxic substances.
Survivors of deceased veterans are also eligible to receive these benefits.
The AARP’s survey also found nearly two-thirds of veterans are unaware they can receive free assistance with the PACT Act.
“The survey found criminals are taking advantage of veterans’ lack of awareness by offering fraudulent benefits claims assistance with promises of lucrative benefits,” the AARP said in announcing the results of the survey.
Troy Broussard, senior advisor of AARP Veterans and Military Families Initiative and a veteran himself, said he is passionate about protecting fellow servicemen and veterans from these types of scams.
“Cause the scammers, what they want to do is, they know that veterans and military families, they have access to these benefits. And these resources that civilians do not have. And thus, it makes them a target with that,” Broussard explained.
Broussard shared several things to keep in mind if you receive any unsolicited calls about the PACT Act:
- Veterans never have to pay for earned benefits or service records
- Any offer urging immediate action is a red flag
- Be calm and prepared to say no
- Use the VA website directly for information on accessing benefits
For those worried they might have fallen prey to a scam, Broussard emphasized they are not alone.
“I don’t want them to feel, you know, ashamed or exploited. Things can happen to anyone at any stage of their life,” Broussard said. “What we want to do, is if it does happen, make sure that you report so that it does not happen to someone else. Anyone can be victimized by a scammer. What we want folks to do is let’s focus on, if the scam happens, let’s go ahead and report it so we make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.”
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