WASHINGTON, D.C. (WWLP) – Every day thousands of military veterans apply for benefits provided to them through the U.S. Government, but there are scammers looking to steal their money and information.

According to the Veterans Benefits Administration of the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are some businesses that advertise on TV and social media, offering assistance with filing claims — particularly for presumptive conditions or for toxic exposures — in return for a fee or a guaranteed percentage of your benefits.

Some scammers lure veterans in by saying they’re veterans as well and use the guise as a way to earn trust.

But the VA says veterans don’t need to pay to file a claim and they can provide assistance with resources and applications. Submit your application securely online via VA.gov or in person at a VA Regional Office. There is no cost for the forms and no fee to apply. VA will never charge to apply for the benefits. They can also help identify a VA-recognized organization or VA-accredited individual to help with claims. 

Veterans Service Organizations (VSOs) and representatives can also help. Validate the credentials of anyone offering to assist with a VA claim by using the Office of General Counsel’s Accreditation Search tool or by contacting your local representative or regional office.

Report scams to the VA and to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).