RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- A fraud alert has been issued regarding certain veteran benefits.

AARP Virginia says scammers are playing off the expansion of veteran benefits associated with the PACT Act.

According to a release, the Veterans Administration began its largest expansion of benefits in its history in August 2022 under this law.

The PACT Act compensates military personnel and veterans for exposure to toxic chemicals, resulting in 4.5 million toxic screenings and expanded benefits for more than 400,000 people.

Unfortunately, AARP says veterans are frequent targets for scammers, with veterans and active-duty service members being 40 percent more likely to lose money to a scam compared to the civilian population.

The release says the most prevalent of these PACT Act-related scams are showing up as emails or online offers that claim to help veterans seeking compensation with the “Camp Lejeune Settlement.”

The Camp Lejeune Justice Act, which is part of the PACT Act, allows veterans and their survivors to pursue compensation if they developed serious illnesses due to exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune between the 1950s and 1980s.

AARP says criminals are telling veterans they will help them apply for these benefits for a fee.

However, veterans are not required to pay to apply for any VA benefits or to receive copies of their military records.

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