Social Security benefits are being stolen through a new scam where identity thieves are fraudulently rerouting Social Security benefits to their own bank accounts and prepaid debit cards. How do they do it? Identity thieves get their hands on the personal information they need, like a full name and bank account number. Then they contact the Social Security Administration and request that payments be rerouted to their own accounts.
According to a report on CNN.com, as of Aug. 31, the inspector general’s office received more than 19,000 reports of “questionable” changes or attempted changes to a Social Security beneficiary’s direct deposit information, and continues to receive about 50 reports like this every day.
The inspector general said the Social Security Administration needs to better verify a Social Security beneficiary’s identity when making changes to his or her account. The recommendations include the administration block attempts to change direct deposit information for people who say they have been victims of fraud and that it alert Social Security beneficiaries of changes immediately through automated e-mails, text messages or letters sent to old and new addresses. It also suggested developing unique routing numbers for prepaid cards, since “these cards are particularly tempting tools for benefit thieves.”
To protect your identity, be wary of any calls or e-mails from people asking for personal information. Never send bank information over the Internet–no matter who the email says it is from. Also, never give bank account information over the phone when someone calls you. Rather, get their number, check them out, and then call them back. The reputable companies will have no problem with you doing this.
Social Security beneficiaries can also tell the Social Security Administration that no changes may be made to your account unless you appear in person with sufficient ID. This can be done by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/blockaccess.
The Social Security Administration said anyone who believes they are victims of fraud should contact the inspector general at http://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse.
Attorney Matthew Noyes and Attorney Lorrie Robinson assist the disabled with getting their Social Security Disability benefits. If you or a loved one has been unable to work for one year because of a disability, call Attorney Matthew Noyes at 727-724-7853 or simply click here to schedule a free case consultation. Attorney Noyes’ Tampa Bay law firm – Perenich, Caulfield, Avril & Noyes — has been caring for clients since 1955.