Washington, D.C. - In case you missed it, today, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik addressed the members of the Veterans’ Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations to discuss her bill the Veterans Scam and Fraud Evasion (V-SAFE) Act which would prevent our veterans from falling victim to fraudulent attacks that endanger them and their livelihoods.

Congresswoman Stefanik also questioned John W. Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about the importance of passing V-SAFE to help implement a one-stop-shop for veterans to go in times of crisis.

Watch her full remarks here.


Read a full transcript and her line of questioning below:

Congresswoman Stefanik: “Thank you, Chairwoman Kiggans for the opportunity to join the VA Committee today for this important legislative hearing. And while I do not serve on this committee, this hearing, as all VA hearings are critical for veterans both across my district in New York 21, home to the largest number of veterans in New York state, and across this country. My bill is one of the bills under discussion today and it addresses a matter that affects all our nation's veterans: the rise of fraud and scams targeting those who have bravely served our country.  

The statistics are staggering, and we’ve worked with many constituents who have faced these frauds and scams. According to the FTC, over 74,000 military retirees and veterans reported instances of fraud or identity theft in 2023 alone, resulting in a collective loss of $350 million hard earned dollars. These scams came in various forms, including fake debt collectors, credit card fraud, benefits fraud, and fake job opportunities, just to name a few. Criminals often exploit veterans' trust by impersonating government officials or representatives of well-known financial institutions making it difficult for our veterans to discern the truth from deceit. 

We must act to better protect our veterans against these malicious actors. That is why I introduced the bipartisan Veterans Scam and Fraud Evasion Act known as the V-SAFE Act. And I appreciate those supportive comments, Mr. Boerstler. This significant bill aims to permanently establish an office within the VA dedicated to leading all fraud prevention efforts. 

Currently, the VA lacks a centralized approach codified in law to combat fraud with various offices operating in a decentralized manner. My V-SAFE Act bill will rectify this by providing oversight and coordination of all fraud prevention efforts within the VA ensuring these activities are coordinated across the entire department. 

My bipartisan bill, H.R. 6452, the V-SAFE Act, represents a crucial step towards safeguarding our nation's veterans from fraudulent activities. By codifying into law, a dedicated organization within the VA and fostering collaboration across government agencies, we can and we will better protect those who have sacrificed so much for our country. I thank the Chair for holding this hearing and I urge my colleagues to support this bipartisan bill as we work it through the legislative process, through the Committee and on the Floor. 

My question is for you Mr. Boerstler. Can you tell me why the V-SAFE Act that I’ve introduced, why it’s important to have a one-stop-shop for veterans where they can go to in times of crisis as they are facing this unprecedented threat of frauds and scams?”

John W. Boerstler, Chief Veterans Experience Officer, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: Well, yes, and thank you Congresswoman for your support and for introducing the bill. I think it’s incredibly important for many different reasons and the $350 million metric you mentioned a second ago, that’s just what has gone reported. We have no idea how many more millions have impacted our military or veterans and families so we do need a centralized effort here, not only within the Department of Veterans’ Affairs but within the broader federal landscape. Because there are many different agencies that have enforcement authorities and reporting authorities. We want that one central phone number for veterans and their families to call. One website to go to so that they can not only identify ways to protect themselves against different scam and fraud efforts, but also report these efforts so that we could track them down and prevent it from happening to other veterans and families.   

Congresswoman Stefanik: “Well, thank you. Thank you for your support of the legislation. I know you have some recommendations from the VA. We look forward to working with you on some of those recommendations as we move this process forward.”