Local family warns of potential scam, strangers pose as VA Hospital employees

Local News

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — As coronavirus fears circulate around Las Vegas, one woman wants to warn the public about an attempted scam her family experienced involving people posing as Veterans Affairs Hospital employees. 

“I was furious,” Marina Nicola told 8 News Now of the incident. “My entire family was furious.”

Nicola said the two strangers approached her 89-year-old father, who’s also a veteran.

“Two people came to my family’s home,” Nicola explained. “And said they were with the Veterans Hospital.”

After falsely identifying themselves, they then offered him toilet paper and soup before asking to come inside his home. 

“It’s hard enough when you have elderly relatives to take care of,” Nicola said. “But at a time like this, if there are people trying to take advantage of them, it’s just horrendous.”

8 News Now reached out to The VA Southern Nevada Healthcare System about this incident. 
Representatives said it’s important to watch for tricks and scams, then also sent this statement:

“The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) will never visit a veteran’s home unannounced. VA home visits are for official purposes only and will be scheduled and coordinated with the veteran in advance.” 

Charles Ramey, Chief of Public Affairs

Thankfully, her father is okay, but Nicola wants this story to serve as a warning. 

“It’s just so unsettling to think that anyone would think this is an okay time to be taking advantage of the elderly,” she said. “Or anyone for that matter.”

Now more than ever, she added that it’s crucial to watch out for those we love most. 

“We have taken every step we can to make sure he’s as safe as possible,” Nicola concluded. “You can’t take anyone for granted”

VA representatives also sent these tips to abide by if you or your family is contacted by someone claiming to work for the organization:

  • Know that the VA will never call you to request money or visit your home without coordination beforehand.
  • Do not give out any personally identifiable information or other personally sensitive data, such as financial information, banking information or passwords. 

Other organizations also want to warn the public about similar scams making their way around Southern Nevada amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Nevada Secretary of State said some people have received “investment opportunity” requests for a “COVID-19 Cure.” 

Officials said this is of course not legitimate and warned anyone to use caution. It’s important to ask the salesperson if he is registered with the state or provincial securities regulator. 

Some have also received calls related to COVID-19 stimulus checks. Someone will reportedly claim to work with the IRS and ask for verification of personal information. 

The IRS said it will never make such a call. 

For more information to avoid potential VA related scams or identity theft, CLICK HERE

For more information on “COVID-19 Cure” scams, CLICK HERE.

For more information on IRS-related scams regarding COVID-19 stimulus checks, CLICK HERE

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