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Lawmakers push VA to take ‘active role’ in tracking scams targeting veterans

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — LaVerne Foreman never expected to fall victim to a scam, especially not one claiming to help disabled veterans.

“I could not believe as they presented themselves that they would be totally ripping off veterans,” Foreman said.

The 82-year-old veteran said he didn’t lose a lot of money but is aware others aren’t as lucky.

“I’m kind of annoyed that I didn’t catch this early on from some of the indicators,” he said. “I wasn’t as observant as I thought I was.”

Foreman was among the many veterans to testify before the Senate Aging Committee about falling victim to scams claiming to provide assistance to veterans.

Senator Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, said he’s pressing the Department of Veterans Affairs to uphold their obligation to protect veterans.

“We’ve got to do more to combat it,” Casey said. “There are efforts the VA can take to not only to alert veterans to these scams but also to take steps to prevent these scams from occurring in the first place.”

Casey and Senator Susan Collins, R-Maine, wrote a letter to the VA, urging them to investigate what steps must be taken to protect veterans from being victims of fraud.

“Surveys show that more than three-quarters of our veterans have been contacted by con-artists,” Collins said.

Casey said a recent study from the Government Accountability Office found the VA receives reports of potential fraud but isn’t doing enough to warn veterans about the latest scams.

“Almost 8 out of 10 of every veteran in the country is targeted you can almost see the scope and the gravity of the problem,” Casey said.