Friday, June 11, 2004


Further proof that some folks are born without a soul. Please be careful.
Veterans officials are warning of an identification scam aimed at those who served their country.

The veterans returning from Iraq and other service discover someone is trying to steal their identity and shoot holes in their credit.

A phony company is promising benefits as soon as an application containing personal information is sent to a dubious address. It's a deception that preys on the mound of military discharge paperwork, particularly Form DD214, that returning soldiers must complete upon discharge or deactivation, said Brian Steffan, Orangeburg commander of Disabled American Veterans.

"The VA has had dozens of calls from people who sent in their DD214," Steffan said. "Once someone has your information, that's it."

"It" is identity theft -- people who assume someone else's identity, usually to gain access to that person's credit and financial information. Typically, the thieves target the elderly or the careless. This time, veterans are in the crosshairs of crooks.

Steffan said an Orangeburg County veteran recently received the benefits form that promises a monetary return to its recipient on legitimate insurance premiums paid while the service member is still active.

"When I found it's a form to send in your DD214 to a post office box in Philadelphia, I called the VA in Philly," Steffan said. "I found out the post office box is not connected with the VA."

The "benefits form" that surfaced in the Orangeburg area has a return address of Veterans Center, P.O. Box 8079, Philadelphia, Pa. 19101. That agency and address is bogus, Steffan said.

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