Identity thieves are once again targeting those in need: seniors and the disabled. The scam is rerouting Social Security benefits to the bank accounts of the scammers and prepaid debit cards. Once the scammers have gotten their hands on the full name and bacnk account number of their mark, they contact the Social Security Administration and request that the payments be rerouted into these other accounts.
A disabled Vietnam War veteran aged 64, had his tax refund, two months’ worth of Veteran’s disability payments and a Social Security benefit stolen, which has put him in a very tough financial spot. Though by immediately notifying each agency about his missing payments he has received some of the funds, he is still waiting for $5,400 in Veteran’s disability payments.
According to Patrick O’Carroll, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, some seniors are scammed by being told they’ve won a lottery and provide their information in order to claim the prize. The Social Security Administration has been encouraging beneficiaries to move over to direct deposit from paper checks, and so they may not be familiar with the process — and so are unlikely to immediately notice that their payment hasn’t come through.
If you or a loved one have been targeted by a scam like this, don’t hesitate to contact the office of the Inspector General of the Social Security Administration. The sooner you act, the sooner you can receive your rightful payments and avoid financial hardship.
Source: CNNMoney, “Scam targets seniors’ Social Security benefits,” Blake Ellis, Sept. 16, 2012
- Ensuring that those who need Social Security benefits receive them is the top priority for attorneys who work for Social Security clients. For more information, visit our Social Security Disability page.