You’ve likely heard ads on the TV or radio about the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit for U.S. military veterans and their families exposed to tainted water at the camp. Marketing agencies and law firms spent over $40 million advertising the lawsuit. Now, scammers are jumping on board too, hoping all the media attention makes it easier to trick people, especially military personnel, into falling for common scam tactics.
How The Scam Works
You receive an email or phone call telling you that you qualify for compensation for the Camp Lejeune class action lawsuit. The email may claim you are entitled to tens of thousands of dollars. You need to click a link or call a number to get your compensation. For example, one recent target told BBB Scam Tracker: “[The caller] said they were representing Camp Lejeune and needed information about my brother who served in the military. Since he died years ago from cancer, they said I had $5,000,000 waiting in compensation from the Marines.”
From here, the scam takes several different forms. Clicking the link could download malware onto your computer or mobile device, putting you at risk for identity theft. In other versions, scammers direct you to a website with a form that asks for personal information. In yet another variation, the scammers are after your money and personal details. They claim you need to pay an upfront fee, so they can file your case and receive your money. 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.
How To Avoid Class Action Lawsuit Scams
- Don’t believe in promises of quick cash with minimal effort. Scammers love to promise that fast cash is in your immediate future. The reality is even well-deserved compensation will take time to receive. It’s worth noting, too, that veterans who served at Camp Lejeune can apply for VA disability compensation and health care benefits without filing a lawsuit or getting help from a lawyer.
- Never click on links in suspicious emails. Be wary of unsolicited emails in general. Please don’t click on the links they contain, as they could lead you to fake websites or download malware onto your computer.
- Stay alert to variations of this scam. Emails aren’t the only way scammers may try to contact you about this and other class action lawsuits. Keep your eye out for similar scams sent via text messages, phone calls, or even mail.
- If you think you deserve compensation, apply through official channels. Visit VA.gov/CampLejeune for official information on how to apply for compensation. You can file for disability compensation online and learn what steps to take to file a Camp Lejeune lawsuit.
- Only work with reputable representatives. If you are ready to file a claim or appeal and need help, don’t settle for working with the first lawyer who pops up on a TV ad. Instead, do thorough research before choosing a legal representative. Get to know all your options, including working with an accredited attorney or a Veterans Service Officer (VSO).
For more information about how to receive compensation related to a stay at Camp Lejeune, visit VA.gov/CampLejeune. You can also report your experience at BBB.org/ScamTracker to help boost public awareness about this and similar scams. To find trustworthy businesses, go to bbb.org.