Phone scam linked to VA health care

Posted at 12:20 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 15:20:52-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV)--A new phone scam is preying on veterans who are trying to access the Veterans Choice Program from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Veterans Choice Program allows certain elIgible veterans to use approved health care providers who are outside of the VA system.  Veterans or families can call the VCP's toll-free number to verify their eligibility.

Here's the problem: scammers have set up a phony telephone line that closely resembles the VCP's telephone number, according to Federal Trade Commission attorney Carol Kando-Pineda.

The fake line's message says veterans are entitled to a rebate if they provide a credit card number.  Veterans who turn over the personal information may find the scammers have debited their accounts.

If you're a veteran, remember these tips to avoid scams:

  • Be sure you're calling the real number for the Veterans Choice Program: (866) 606-8198.  If you're not sure you've reached the VCP, hang up.  Check the VCP's site for the real number and try again.
  • The VA - or any government agency - will not ask for your financial account information, according to Kando-Pineda.

You can visit VCP's site to learn more about the Veterans Choice Program.  The Veterans Affairs Department also has an identity theft prevention program, More Than A Number.