HARRISBURG – Attorney General Josh Shapiro today announced his Bureau of Consumer Protection and Office of Military and Veterans Affairs have settled a case against a Pennsylvania woman for scamming veterans by making misrepresentations in advertising services pertaining to long term health care, including Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Claims Benefit consultation and assistance. This was in violation of the Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law.
Advertisements for Veterans Resource Solutions, LLC stressed the importance of having a benefit consultant and specifically indicated that only trained Veterans Service Officers or VA accredited agents are able to navigate this long, tedious, and precise process. As a result of these advertisements, Kimberly Dunn, of Allegheny County, misrepresented herself and agents in her organization, Veterans Resource Solution, LLC, as being VA accredited agents able to apply for benefits on behalf of veterans.
The advertisements also made other misrepresentations. They stated that if veterans apply for benefits on their own and are denied then they would need to wait a year to reapply, which is inaccurate in terms of the VA Claims Benefit process. This misinformation was provided to either lure veterans to the business, or was due to a lack of expertise in the claims processing – or both. In addition, the Respondents failed to disclose that veterans can apply for and be awarded these benefits themselves at no cost and that accredited veterans service organizations provide these service free of charge.
“Veterans deserve our greatest thanks and respect – they don’t deserve to be scammed,” said Attorney General Josh Shapiro. “If you are a veteran who believes you have been victimized by a scam when filing a claim for benefits, please call or email my Office of Military and Veterans Affairs and file a complaint so we can help.”
This settlement of Assurance of Voluntary Compliance reached with Dunn and Veterans Resource Solutions, LLC provides for $10,000 in civil penalties and costs. Any violations of the agreement would subject Dunn and her business to an enhanced penalty of $5,000.
Attorney General Shapiro and his Office of Military and Veterans Affairs are also providing tips to prevent veterans to avoid being scammed and ensure they have the best possible assistance when filing claims for their U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) benefits:
- Don’t pay for a service that is free. There are many accredited claims agents within the Military and Veterans Community who are highly qualified to perform this service free of charge.
- Do research on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) website into the accreditation of a claims agent, if you are considering paying them a fee to process your benefits.
- Follow recommendations and referrals of fellow veterans who have had successful experiences filing VA benefit claims with specific Veterans Service Organizations. Always ask to see the representative’s accreditation credentials.
- Work with only certified veterans service organizations with the relevant training these are listed on the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website and include representatives of organizations such as; PA Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, County Veteran Affairs Directors, and other organizations.
- Additional tips on pension poaching are contained in this
If you suspect that someone is misrepresenting their VA Claims Benefit accreditation status, or you are being charged a fee to file an initial VA Claim, or are a victim of any other scam targeting Veterans, file a complaint with the Office of Attorney General’s Military and Veterans Affairs by calling 717-783-1944 or emailing PAvets@attorneygeneral.gov.
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