What to Know About Camp Lejeune Scams
On August 10, 2022, the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022 was signed into law. This historical development allowed victims of the Camp Lejeune water contamination scandal to file lawsuits against the U.S. government.
The new law opened the doors for veterans and their loved ones to finally get justice after decades of frustrating denials. Unfortunately, it also opened the floodgates for scammers.
Don’t get caught off guard. Learn how to protect yourself from Camp Lejeune scams.
Is the Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Real?
Yes, you can rest assured that Camp Lejeune lawsuits are legitimate. This is due to Section 804 of the Honoring our PACT Act of 2022, passed into law last August.
Known as the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, the law allows veterans, reservists, and National Guard members exposed to the water at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987, to file lawsuits.
Family members may also qualify, including women who were pregnant, provided they were on the base for at least 30 days during the time frame in question. The unborn babies of these women would also be included. This means individuals born between 1953 and 1988 may be eligible if their mother was pregnant and spent at least 30 days at the base between August 1, 1953, and December 31, 1987.
Through the Camp Lejeune Justice Act of 2022, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates paying out over $21 billion in Camp Lejeune claims. Unfortunately, figures this high invite dishonorable players into the mix looking to take advantage of veterans and their loved ones.
Camp Lejeune Lawsuit Scams
It is rare to turn on the TV these days without seeing an ad for Camp Lejeune lawsuits. In fact, law firms and marketing agencies have spent over $100 million on advertising for Camp Lejeune-related claims, according to Bloomberg Law. While it can be annoying or even comical, the truth is that most of these personal injury law firms are genuine and can actually help.
The U.S. government previously blocked veterans from pursuing legal help and even denied financial assistance through VA benefits. Now with lawyers trying to help victims file lawsuits in addition to filing for their Camp Lejeune VA benefits, scammers can easily prey on veterans trying to navigate these latest updates.
Beware: Camp Lejeune lawsuit scams are generally designed to steal your PACT Act benefits or submit unauthorized claims on your behalf.
“If you pay them, they’ll continue to ask for more “filing fees” until you become suspicious. As soon as you realize the con, the scammer will disappear with your information and money.”
—Better Business Bureau (BBB)
Camp Lejeune scams can come in the form of:
- Phishing (email)
- Social media
- Vishing (phone calls and voicemail)
Knowing who to trust and which information is the most accurate has become increasingly stressful for innocent Camp Lejeune toxic water victims seeking help.
Camp Lejeune Email Scams
Some of the most common forms of fraud out there are Camp Lejeune scam emails. Also known as phishing emails, these scams have been flooding the inboxes of veterans across the nation.
Phishing scams are designed to do any of the following:
- Access financial or health information that can be used to file fraudulent claims
- Infect computers with malicious viruses and demand money to remove them
- Steal data such as login credentials or credit card numbers
Phishing scams are set up to target a group of people, in this case, U.S. military veterans. Each day, roughly 156 million phishing emails are sent across the globe.
“Veterans should be cautious of anyone who guarantees a lucrative financial benefit or service.”
—U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
Camp Lejeune email scams can look very official to unsuspecting veterans. This is because cybercriminals have become sophisticated. The best way to protect yourself is to know what to look for.
Tips on Avoiding Camp Lejeune Scams
While many of the offers on TV and the Internet are legitimate, a growing number are not. They are nefarious attempts to steal money or information.
Here are some ways to protect yourself from Camp Lejeune scams:
- Avoid engaging with suspicious social media ads
- Be wary of unsolicited emails, and never click on their links
- Do not provide personal, financial, medical, or benefits information unless you are certain of the entity requesting it
- Don’t reply to suspicious texts—remember, any response you send can authenticate your phone number, even just the word: STOP
- Ensure any website you submit information to starts with https:// (the “s” stands for “secure”)
- Keep your computer’s browser and security software updated
- Look for official seals on a company’s correspondence, such as the Better Business Bureau (BBB)
- Never click on links in pop-up windows or ads
- Research any law firm or organization that promises to help you file a claim
If you suspect you are being targeted, report potential Camp Lejeune scams to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). Additionally, if you aren’t sure if something is legitimate, wait to submit any information electronically and contact the VA or a trusted Camp Lejeune law firm for help.
By staying vigilant, veterans and their family members can protect themselves from Camp Lejeune settlement scams.