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Agencies fight 'robocalls' targeting veterans.

* The VA and Federal Communications Commission are combating illegal robocalls targeting veterans and their families.

According to the FCC, unwanted calls--including illegal and spoofed robocalls--are their top consumer complaint and top consumer protection priority. In an effort to combat the flood of robocalls, government agencies have sued and won judgments totaling more than $1.5 billion since the Do Not Call Registry was established in 2003. They have held technology contests to spur the development of call-blocking apps and made it easier for members of the public to file lawsuits, including class-action litigation.

However, scammers continue to find new ways to get around the protections in place. Aside from the annoyance, scam calls frequently solicit money for fake charities, including ones claiming to support America's veterans--some even claiming to be VA representatives. Fraudulent groups with legitimate-sounding names like Help the Vets and Veterans of America placed more than 1 million robocalls in 2017 that resulted in people donating more than $435,000 in cash and property.

The FCC and the VA published the following list of tips to help veterans and their families avoid unwanted calls and scams:

* Don't answer calls from unknown numbers. Scammers may spoof their caller ID to display a fake number that appears to be local. If you answer such a call, hang up immediately.

* Never give out personal information such as account numbers, Social Security numbers, mother's maiden name or passwords in response to unexpected or suspicious calls.

* Be sure to set a password for all voicemail accounts to avoid being hacked.

* Register your number on the federal Do Not Call List,, to block calls from legitimate telemarketers.

* Ask your phone company about call-blocking tools and services for your landline phone, and check for helpful apps that you can download to your mobile phone.

For more information, visit

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Title Annotation:NEWS for VETERANS
Publication:DAV Magazine
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2019
Previous Article:Protect yourself-and your benefits--from fraud.
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