POTENTIAL FRAUD ALERT!!!

POTENTIAL FRAUD ALERT GIFT CARD/PII ISSUE

POTENTIAL FRAUD ALERT
GIFT CARD/PII ISSUE

Disabilities determined by VA to be related to your military service can lead to monthly non-taxable compensation, enrollment in the VA health care system, a 10-point hiring preference for federal employment and other important benefits. Ask your VA representative or Veterans Service Organization representative about Disability Compensation, Pension, Health Care, Caregiver Program, Career Services, Educational Assistance, Home Loan Guaranty, Insurance and/or Dependents and Survivors’ Benefits.

BENEFITS ASSISTANCE SERVICE
ISSUED DATE: NOVEMBER 21, 2013
BACKGROUND INFORMATION

A marketing company has acquired and is using two toll free numbers which are VERY SIMILAR to VBA toll free numbers. The marketer is trying to get callers to sign up to receive a Wal-Mart gift card, and is asking for PII, to include credit card information. When asked if they are the VA, they reply vaguely, and explain that the VA is very busy and the call was directed to them. They don’t say they are the VA, but if asked if they can help with VA benefits, they say yes. In addition, they even offer to transfer the call to the VA, after the caller provides the credit card information to get the free Wal-Mart gift card.
This issue has been reported to the Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission for review.
The two numbers identified in this alert are:

  • 1-800-872-1000 which is very close to our main number of 1-800-827-1000
  • 1-888-442-4511 which is very close to our GI-Bill number of 1-888-442-4551

FAQS AND SUGGESTED SCRIPTS

Q1. WHAT SHOULD WE TELL A VETERAN IF HE/SHE ASKS IF THIS IS A LEGITIMATE OFFER?
A: “The VA is not participating in any gift card promotions. We have been advised of this situation and have referred the issue to our Office of the Inspector General and have filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Please use caution when disclosing personal information as it could be a fraudulent situation.”
Benefits Assistance Service Quality & Training November 2013 Contact us: www.va.gov 1-800-827-1000
Q2. IS THE VA RESEARCHING THIS ISSUE OR ATTEMPTING TO TAKE ACTION AGAINST THE COMPANY?
A: “The VA has reported this issue to the Office of the Inspector General and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. They will be reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate course of action.”
Q3. WHAT SHOULD WE TELL SOMEONE IF THEY HAVE MISTAKENLY RELEASED THEIR PII IN THIS SITUATION?
A: “The VA has reported this issue to the Office of the Inspector General and filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. They will be reviewing the situation to determine the appropriate course of action. If you feel you have disclosed your personal information to an unauthorized individual, please contact your credit card company and advise them of the situation, review transactions, and request that a new card number be issued. You may request a free credit report from credit reporting agencies. In addition, you should also contact the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 and file a complaint.”
Q4. I CALLED THIS COMPANY. HOW CAN I FILE A COMPLAINT?
A: “Thank you for reporting this information to VA, you can contact the FTC at 1-877-382-4357 and file a complaint.”

Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) update

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As you know, the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program (VRAP) offers a renewed opportunity for education/training and job assistance to unemployed Veterans 35-60 years old.   As of this week there have been over 117,000 applicants.  We have notified over 101,000 Veterans that they are approved to begin training (through a Certificate of Eligibility-COE) and, to date over 47,000 have begun their training towards a high demand career field.
VRAP is a joint program between VA and Department of Labor however; the successful outreach of VRAP was a much larger community endeavor.  Many of you represent our stakeholders, community partners, and Veterans Service Organizations who helped us reach out to this deserving population.  Thank you for helping us and supporting our outreach efforts.  We could not have achieved this without you.
Our challenge now is ensuring that Veterans who have received notification of approval, a COE, start their training as soon as feasible.  According to the law that established VRAP, the program expires March 31, 2014, so it’s important that training is initiated/and completed by that date.
We once again, thank you for your help in our outreach efforts, and request your continued support.
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Important Veteran Websites, VetSuccess, eBenefits, VA for Vets, National Resource Directory

On the VetSuccess.gov website, you can conduct customized job searches, access resources to help you create a resume and cover letter, and find useful tips and suggestions to help you succeed in a job interview.  We created VetSuccess.gov as a one-stop shop for Veteran employment, and hope you’ll visit and take advantage of the resources that are available.  Click the VetSuccess graphic to visit the VetSuccess Homepage.

eBenefits is a portal; a central location for Veterans, Service Members, and their families to research, find, access, and, in time, manage their benefits and personal information.

eBenefits offers:

  • A personalized workspace called My Dashboard that provides quick access to eBenefits tools. Using eBenefits tools, you can complete various tasks. You can apply for benefits, download your DD 214, view your benefits status, in addition to other actions as needed. This workspace is available to you once you have created an eBenefits account
  • A catalog of links to other sites that provide information about military and Veteran benefits
  • Click the above graphic to visit the eBenefit Homepage.  (secure)

VA honors the sacred pledge that Military Service Members and Veterans have made to protect our nation. As part of VA’s mission to provide world-class services for the men and women who sacrifice so much for us, we created a dedicated career support program just for them: VA for Vets.

Today, VA is more committed than ever to helping Veterans thrive. VA for Vetsworks to turn this vision into reality by offering Veterans the tools they need to launch or advance their civilian careers at VA.

The most thorough military skills translation and career matching services for Veterans seeking employment.

  • Professional development and deployment lifecycle support for current Veteran and Military Service Member employees.
  • Online training and personalized services for the supervisors, HR professionals, hiring managers and coworkers who work with our Veteran employees each and every day.

Come see how VA for Vets is connecting Veterans to the information, tools and resources they need to succeed.

The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a website that connects wounded warriors, Service Members, Veterans, their families, and caregivers to programs and services that support them.

It provides access to services and resources at the national, state and local levels to support recovery, rehabilitation and community reintegration. Visitors can find information on a variety of topics including

For help finding resources on the site, visit the How to Use this Site section of the NRD.

The NRD is a partnership among the Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs. Information contained within the NRD is from federal, state and local government agencies; Veteran and military service organizations; non-profit and community-based organizations; academic institutions and professional associations that provide assistance to wounded warriors and their families.

 

Strength At Home

Welcome to Strength at Home!

To veterans, service members, and military families: thank you for your valuable service to our country.

We know that there are many challenges in the transition from deployment to civilian life.  As a result, we are offering two programs designed to help service members, veterans, and military couples strengthen relationships, and reduce arguments and conflict with relationship partners and others. These programs are part of federally funded research projects.

12 Session Men’s Program:

The primary goals of this program are to help veterans and service members of any conflict era improve anger management skills and prevent arguments and conflict in intimate relationships.
Learn More

10 Session Couple’s Program:

The primary goals of this program are to help OEF/OIF military couples strengthen their relationship, increase feelings of closeness and happiness, and to prevent arguments and conflict.
Learn More

The Strength At Home programs are relationship strengthening programs for veterans, service members and their families who are struggling with conflict, anger, and readjustment after a deployment.  Our programs were collaboratively developed by internationally recognized mental health experts at the National Center for PTSD, Boston VA Healthcare System, Boston University, and other academic and clinical institutions serving military members and their families.  Our team leaders are experts in couple’s treatment, anger treatment, as well as trauma and recovery. 

Click any of the above links or here http://strengthathome.com/index.html