Veterans reported $350 million in fraud losses in 2023, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC)—an uptick of $60 million from the previous year. However, a new effort on Capitol Hill would shield the men and women who served by protecting them from scammers.

H.R. 6452, the Veterans Scam and Fraud Evasion (VSAFE) Act, would help steer culprits away from veterans by establishing a veteran scam and fraud evasion officer within the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) who would guide veterans and their families on identifying, reporting, preventing and responding to such nefarious activity.

With more than 74,000 reports of fraud and a median reported loss of $577 among veterans last year, according to FTC data, the bill responds to an urgent need to safeguard the benefits and resources they’ve earned.

The legislation was introduced by Rep. Elise Stefanik (N.Y.), Chairman of the House Veterans Affairs Committee Rep. Mike Bost (Ill.), Rep. Tom Cole (Okla.) and Rep. Robert Wittman (Va.).

“This bill will provide our veterans with consistent guidance on identifying, reporting, and avoiding fraud and scam attempts,” Stefanik said in a statement introducing the bill last November.

“VA must do everything they can to protect veterans’ hard-earned benefits from fraudsters and scammers because, unfortunately, the bad guys still exist,” added Bost. “This commonsense proposal would build on VA’s efforts to enhance their cybersecurity, fraud, and scam protection efforts into one centralized place to protect veterans and keep pace with today’s digital world.”

Veterans are increasingly targeted by swindlers looking to make a quick buck. According to a 2017 AARP survey, veterans are twice as likely to fall victim to a scam as the general population. Types of scams include identity theft, loans, investment fraud and more.

The bill was approved by House Veterans Affairs Committee in May, sending the measure to the full House of Representatives.

“We know veterans are disproportionately victimized by scammers,” said DAV National Legislative Director Joy Ilem. “And disabled veterans often depend on the benefits they’ve earned for their daily subsistence. We applaud this effort to empower veterans to avoid fraudsters and help those who are wronged.”

If you or someone you know has been scammed, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission online or by calling 877-382-4357.

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