Fake number for medical care rips off veterans, feds say

A bogus phone number very close to the real one is a scam targeting veterans who are seeking medical care, federal officials said Monday.

The real number for the Veterans Choice Program is 866-606-8198. The program allows eligible vets to use approved health care providers outside of the Veterans Affairs system.

“Here’s the problem,” says an advisory from the Federal Trade Commission. “Scammers have set up a phony telephone line that very closely resembles the VCP’s real telephone number. Con artists often use names, seals, and logos that look or sound like those of respected, legitimate organizations. This time they’re using a phone number that’s almost identical to the real thing, counting on creating confusion.”

People call and think they have reached the real number.

“The fake line’s message says you’re entitled to a rebate if you provide a credit card number,” says FTC attorney Carol Kando-Pineda. “But if you give up your account information, they’ll debit your account and you’ll get nothing in return.  There is no rebate and you’ll need to cancel your credit card.”

The real program won’t ask for your credit card number over the phone, officials say.

You can check the website for the real Veterans Choice program  here:

https://www.va.gov/opa/toolkit/index.asp

 

 

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