The Defense Health Agency is warning Tricare beneficiaries of an elaborate mail scam designed to steal money from their banks.
According to the DHA Office of Program Integrity, some Tricare beneficiaries have received letters from a bogus company called Tricare Survey Inc., offering them the chance to work as “secret shoppers.”
The mailings instruct recipients to cash enclosed checks for $3,775 at their banks, keep a percentage of the money for themselves and use the rest to buy six $500 shopping cards to be used at retailers for “secret shopping” excursions.
But when recipients report the card numbers to the company, as instructed in the letters, the fraudsters use the numbers to transfer the amount to their own accounts.
In the alert, issued by the Defense Department on Sunday, August 30, Tricare officials advised beneficiaries not to participate in the scheme, saying they may be held accountable by their banks for the money.
Tricare will identify the checks as counterfeit and return them to the bank in which they were drawn from as non-cashable. Potential exists for the beneficiary to be personally liable for the entire $3775.00, the notification stated.
Companies and individuals target military personnel and families with scams with such frequency that in 2012, federal and state law enforcement agencies created a database of offenders, called the Repeat Offenders Against Military database.
Defense health Agency officials urge anyone who received a secret shopper letter to submit a report to the DHA Program Integrity Office. They can do so online on the office’s web page by clicking the “Report Health Care Fraud” button.