VETERAN’S NEWS From the Internet
Gathered by Bob Kinsler, SSG (ret), US Army, DAV, VFW Dept. of Oklahoma, Public Affairs Team.
Help Veterans Impacted by String of Natural Disasters
With your support, we can immediately provide relief Sep 12, 2017
The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the U.S. is accepting donations to help veterans, service members and military families impacted by the recent string of natural disasters.
Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and the anticipated arrival of Jose, along with the raging wildfires across our western region have left many in desperate need of assistance. The VFW’s Emergency Relief Fund provides our organization the opportunity to react quickly with immediate relief to those in the affected areas.
To donate to the VFW Emergency Relief Fund, please send checks payable to the VFW, earmarked “Emergency Relief” to:
Veterans of Foreign Wars
406 W. 34th Street
Kansas City, MO 64111
You may also show your support by making a $10 donation to the effort by texting the word “NEEDS” to 27722.
In addition to individual gifts, the VFW is encouraging its Departments, Districts and Posts to contribute to the relief efforts. (Post Relief Funds can be used to assist per Section 704 (a) of the Manual of Procedure.)
TRICARE Fee Increase: Last year’s National Defense Authorization Act increased TRICARE costs for military retirees who enter the military after January 1, 2018, and their families. Current military retirees and their family members are exempt from these cost increases, but a proposal which was recently advanced by the Senate would remove this exemption. This proposal would result in higher TRICARE fees for military retirees, including pharmacy copayments, which are already three times higher than they were in 2011, and enrollment costs for certain plans, such as the new Select plan, would nearly triple. The VFW believes that there is an inherent cost to fielding a professional, all-volunteer military, and the promise of a modest stipend immediately upon retirement and inexpensive health care are keys to retaining our best and brightest service members. The VFW needs your help in defeating this harmful proposal which would require military retirees to pay more for their earned health care.
New Scams Targeting Veterans
One new scam targeting veterans, military families and Medicare recipients is currently active.
The scammers are contacting veterans claiming to be from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), and claim to be reaching out to veterans to update their records with the VA. The scammers claim it is a new policy of the VA to reach out to veterans via telephone, thus, making the VA a more user-friendly organization. The goal of the scam is to get a veterans’ social security number. The scammers gradually work at getting a veteran’s social security number, credit information or both by first asking “soft questions.” The scammers first gather “soft information” by verifying the veterans current address, military branch, and working status. After gathering the “soft information,” the scammers will ask for a veterans’ social security number or credit card information or both. If the first attempt fails, the scammers attempt to build rapport with the veteran by getting them comfortable. The phrase used by the scammers is: “Get them to laugh, and they will lay down.”
Keep in mind, any veteran receiving a call from these scammers must remember, the VA most likely already has all of the information the scammers are seeking with the exception of credit card information.
Trading Cash for Benefits Scam
Another active scam involves scammers attempting to convince veterans to trade their VA benefits for fast cash, often at a fraction of the value of the true VA benefits’ value. VA officials have stated in no uncertain terms that such a deal is always bad for the veteran and must be avoided in any form.
How the Equifax Breach Puts You at Risk: In light of last week’s disclosure by credit reporting agency Equifax, where 143 million Americans had their sensitive personal information exposed, there are rising concerns that service members, veterans and their families will be disproportionately affected. Recent analysis by the Consumer Federation of America states that as a result of multiple Permanent Change of Station moves and deployments, service members, veterans and their family members are already twice as likely to have their personal financial information stolen. This recent breach only makes matters worse. While there is no immediate means for recourse, the VFW recommends verifying if your information was compromised by going to the Equifax Cybersecurity Incident. In the event that it has, you will be given the option to enroll for free in TrustedID, which is Equifax’s credit monitoring service, for a period of one year. For our active duty members, federal law provides you the right to place what is called an “Active Duty” alert on your credit report. This alert ensures that lenders must take additional steps to verify your identity prior to opening any new accounts. In order to sign up for the alert, you must register with each credit reporting agency separately –– Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Finally, it is worth noting that there has been a surge of scam artists posing as Equifax employees and calling people to verify their information. If you receive a call like this, do not reveal any of your information. Instead, take note of the phone number, the time, and the name of the individual and report it to the Federal Trade Commission.
(Bob’s Note – I can contact the Federal Trade Commission if you get any of these calls, just need the phone number, the time the call came in, and the name of the individual as soon as possible).
Since I have not seen Butch Morris, Commander of the Antlers VFW add his comments of late, I thought I would add something here.
The Saturday Night Dance at the Antlers VFW is still open, a great place for those older veterans along with their spouse (or by themselves, as I heard there are many ladies wanting to dance down there). This is the only way the Antlers VFW gets funding for their operations and community events, so at $6.00 per person is a great way to get some exercise, hear classic country music and enjoy visiting with other Veterans.
On Monday and Friday starting at 6:30 PM the Hugo VFW plays BINGO which helps the Hugo VFW fund its operation and community events (along with their funding of those veterans needing additional funds to live on in the area). At $36 per package of BINGO cards they have some interesting prizes and one could obtain enough of those prizes to cover the cost of going (along with the food & drink from the canteen). Top of Form