The Department of Veterans' Affairs is cautioning veterans against unscrupulous scam artists who may be targeting older cardholders. According to officials of the government agency, fraudsters are posing as employees of the veterans' affairs office and asking for valuable credit card information through the phone.
While the modus operandi does not differ much from other scams, credit card thieves are shifting towards older Americans. Industry experts say that fraudsters perceive veterans as easy targets in comparison to ordinary cardholders. Their lack of proper knowledge and information regarding credit cards and the risks involved make them prime targets for scam artists.
According to sources at the Veterans' Affairs (VA) office, thieves would call up ageing veterans, claiming to be employees of the government agency. They would then ask for important financial information, claiming that they are updating the veterans' credit card data for medical expenses and prescriptions. Because most veterans are very trusting, according to sources, they would often believe in the thieves' explanation that the VA is changing procedures.
Dr. Gerald Cross, the agency's undersecretary for health, called the new scam "inexcusable." Cross also explained that the VA does not call veterans and require them to divulge information over the phone. The undersecretary added that the practice "dishonors their (veterans') service and misrepresents the department built for them."
Cross also explained that the VA has not changed its procedures and that there are no immediate plans to alter existing procedures. On the contrary, he added, the government agency is committed more than ever to protect the personal information of veterans across the U.S.
The Secret Service and sources from the credit card industry say that credit card and identity fraud are costing Americans billions of dollars each year. Experts add that the credit industry stands to lose billions of dollars in potential revenue every year due to credit card thieves. Surprisingly, the conviction rate for card and identity thieves stand only at five percent, further strengthening the resolve of scam artists. Analysts say that the low conviction rate and relatively weak security measures are making it easier for scam artists and identity thieves to thrive.
Industry experts point out that the best way to avoid becoming a victim would be to exercise more vigilance when confronted with suspicious individuals. They recommend knowing the different procedures that card companies use so cardholders can avoid becoming targets of opportunity by card and identity thieves.