• Action News Jax Investigates: Jacksonville-area Marine targeted at home

    By: Ben Becker , Action News Jax

    Updated:

    JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A new scam targets the VA disability benefits of local veterans.  

    An Action News Jax Investigation exposed thieves diverting money from one account to another.  

    It happened to local veteran Robert Daniels who relies on his monthly disability checks to make ends meet.

    Daniels says he served in the Marine Corp for 4 years and is now 80 percent disabled, his discharge papers detail numerous injuries including arthritis, ligament tears in his knees, and two compressed discs in his back.

    The local father first noticed the problem when he checked his bank account for the VA deposit, he said “I was looking for my check and there was no check.”

    Daniels received  a letter from the Department of Veterans Affairs saying "We processed  your October 2nd  request  to change your  direct deposit information."  

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    But Daniels never made that request.

    He later learned his VA eBenefits account had been accessed by scammers.

    Daniels had to call the VA dozens of times to get paid only to relive the nightmare every month.  

    “I’m extremely mad" he said.

    Robert Daniels isn’t alone, according to the VA out of NEARLY 7 million Ebenefit accounts, 2,293  have been compromised since 2015.

    Action News Jax reporter Ben Becker told Daniels “We’re going to try and GET you answers".

    Becker called VA officials from Gainesville to Washington DC alerting them to the scam and to Robert Daniels difficulty clearing his account.

    Soon after, the Marine veteran heard back from the VA  and he says he should expect to see compensation benefits for this month… and is hopeful the eBenefit  issue will be resolved

    Tom Stephens is with the Better Business Bureau and says he is not surprised veterans are being targeted by scammers, saying “Government programs are guaranteed payment if you can get that money channeled to you it will come every month until they get it straightened out."

    Robert Daniel’s is now on high alert.  He received his February payment, but Daniels is  still waiting for final confirmation that the freeze on his eBenefits account has been lifted.   

    Action News Jax will continue to follow up with the VA about Daniels case.

    “Now I’m double, triple checking everything to make I’m protected and safe"  he said

    Action News Jax will continue to follow up with the VA about Daniels case.

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