Camp Lejeune, a cornerstone of the U.S. Marine Corps, hosted over a million individuals from 1953 to 1987. Unfortunately, the base’s drinking water faced contamination during that time period, leading many veterans and their families to suffer severe health issues. In 2022, President Biden signed the Honoring our Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act, encompassing the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), which offers benefits to veterans and their families exposed to contaminated water. However, a concerning trend has emerged—scammers are exploiting the vulnerability of those involved, using government imposter scams to phishing schemes to target veterans seeking justice under the CLJA.
How Scammers Take Advantage of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Since the introduction of the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA), a troubling trend has surfaced—scammers are actively exploiting the vulnerability of individuals who served at Camp Lejeune. These scammers use deceptive tactics to target those engaged in the claims process, ranging from government imposter scams to phishing schemes.
Government imposter scams related to the Camp Lejeune claims process occur when scammers pretend to be representatives from the Justice Department or the U.S. Navy. Taking advantage of the genuine need for justice under the CLJA, these fraudsters reach out to veterans, claiming that they need to pay fees to process their claims. This deceptive tactic plays on the concerns of individuals seeking justice, creating a false sense of legitimacy that can trick unsuspecting victims into giving away their money.
When it comes to scams related to Camp Lejeune, phishing is also a major concern. Scammers use different methods—like phone calls, texts, or fake emails—to contact people and falsely promise significant payouts or benefits. Adding to their deception, these fraudsters ask for personal information or sometimes demand upfront fees. The promise of financial compensation might make these phishing attempts seem attractive, leading unsuspecting individuals to unknowingly share confidential details.
What Veterans Can Do To Protect Themselves
Unfortunately, scams targeting veterans in an attempt to cheat them out of their benefits have been around for a while. The good news is that veterans can protect themselves by recognizing warning signs, following guidelines to identify scams, and reporting any fraudulent activities to the proper authorities.
Common Red Flags of Veteran Benefits Scams
Watch out for these signs indicating potential veteran benefits scams:
- They ask you to pay a fee upfront to receive your benefits.
- You’re told to update your records or provide personal information for eligibility.
- They request payment to access your records or documents.
- There is pressure to act quickly.
- The person you’re dealing with is hesitant to provide contact details.
Here’s How to Protect Yourself
- Remember, filing a claim is free. The Justice Department and the U.S. Navy will never request payment in exchange for benefits. If asked to pay, it’s a scam—stop and report it.
- Never click on unknown links or attachments.
- Before sharing sensitive details or making payments, conduct research.
- Legitimate emails from the Navy will come from the us.navy.mil domain, not Google or Yahoo. If you ever receive an email and want to confirm its authenticity, you can forward it to the [email protected] address for verification.
- Don’t provide personal information over the phone until you have confirmed someone’s identity and their organization. Call the CLCU at (757) 241-6020 or email them at [email protected] if you are unsure if the person you are communicating with is legitimate.
How to Report a Veteran Benefits Scam
If someone contacts you claiming they can help you get your CLJA benefits for a fee, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov right away. Reporting increases the likelihood that scammers are prosecuted and helps others avoid being scammed.
How to Submit a Legitimate Claim for the Camp Lejeune Justice Act
Contact the VA or the U.S. Navy to understand more about the Camp Lejeune Justice Act and the claims process in general. You can also seek assistance through an accredited Veterans Service Organization (VSO). These organizations provide free services and unbiased advice. Official CLJA forms and claim eligibility details can be accessed at Navy’s CLJA page. Understanding benefits and filing disability compensation claims through the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs is facilitated at VA’s official page. By arming yourself with knowledge and caution, you can navigate the CLJA process while steering clear of scams and securing the benefits you deserve.