Stars and Stripes: VA has lost GIBill.com rights, and some worry it could prompt scammers to target student vets

“The Department of Veterans Affairs has lost the domain rights to GIBill.com, which some advocates fear could open the potential for scammers to target veterans.”

“The VA appeared to have GIBill.com at least through May 20, according to Wayback, which archives screenshots of websites. Yet, VA officials contend the domain was lost during the administration of former President Barack Obama and the agency did not say whether it intends to regain control of the site.”

“’VA acquired this domain as part of a court settlement in 2012,’ Christina Noel, a spokeswoman for the department, said in a statement. ‘Unfortunately, VA lost ownership of it during the Obama administration in 2015 because the person in charge of maintaining the domain left VA service and VA leaders at the time had no continuity plan in place.’”

“Nearly a decade ago, GIBill.com was owned by QuinStreet, an online marketing firm whose clients included a host of for-profit colleges. In 2012, the marketing firm had to squash the website and pay $2.5 million in penalties for deceptive advertising practices aimed at student veterans. At the time, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway called the company’s use of GIBill.com ‘the most egregious example’ that he has seen of misinformation and greed directed at veterans…”

“It is unclear who owns GIBill.com now, but the domain was bought in August, according to WhoIs, a domain registration tool that tracks the dates that domains were purchased and when they expire. GIBill.com does not currently have the appearance of a developed website, but there are some ads on it that forward users to public and for-profit universities.”

“Some lawmakers and advocates are urging the VA to get the website back because they are worried the status of the site could prompt a group to try again to take advantage of student veterans…” Read the full article here.

Source: VA has lost GIBill.com rights, and some worry it could prompt scammers to target student vets – By Steve Beynon, October 15, 2020. Stars and Stripes.

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