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Phrase 'GI Bill' trademarked to stop fraud

Dec. 5, 2012 at 4:30 PM

WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has trademarked "GI Bill" to crack down on Internet scams aimed at Iraq and Afghanistan servicemen.

Since its inception in 1944 following World War II, the GI Bill has provided free healthcare, schooling, housing discounts and other perks to men and women who served in the military. In the Internet era, the VA noted the term has been co-opted by dozens of online outfits seeking to capitalize on Web searches for information about veterans' benefits, McClatchey said Wednesday.

By trademarking the term, private businesses won't be legally allowed to use it without the VA's consent, making it more difficult for scam artists to prey on unsuspecting veterans, officials said. Of particular concern were several online for-profit colleges that VA officials said weren't being fully truthful with vets about the benefits to which they're entitled under the GI Bill.

"We will continue to support our veterans by helping them obtain the best education of their choosing -- a right for which they have bravely served, and which they have truly earned," Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki said in a statement Monday announcing the trademark. "We all want veterans to be informed consumers in their educational pursuit."

The federal government has trademarked other phrases, such as "Social Security" and "Medicare," McClatchey said.

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