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Scam Targets Seniors Social Security Payments
According to CNN Money, in a new scam targeting seniors and the disabled, identity thieves are fraudulently rerouting Social Security benefits to their own bank accounts and prepaid debit cards.
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. This scam is emerging at the same time the Social Security Administration is actively encouraging all beneficiaries to switch to direct deposit to meet a regulation requiring the agency to stop sending paper checks.
You can read the full article at http://money.cnn.com/2012/09/26/pf/seniors-social-security-scam/index.html.
What can you do to avoid these scams?
- Be wary of any calls, emails or letters requesting personal information. Information requested regarding bank accounts, debit/credit cards, Social Security numbers or payments is particularly suspect.
- Be skeptical of personal contact from “the government.” If a caller states they are with a government agency (IRS, VA, Social Security Administration), get their contact information and end the call. Don’t respond to email requests. Call the nearest agency office listed on their official website that you’ve looked up separately. Generally government agencies will choose to conduct their official business by letter, not over the phone or via email.
- Block change requests for your SSA payments. The Social Security Administration (SSA) can block change requests to reroute payments unless you show up in person if this is your preference. You can also tell the agency that no changes may be made to your account unless you appear in person with sufficient ID by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/blockaccess.
- Monitor expected payments online. If it's been three or four days since you were supposed to receive your benefits payment or you receive a letter confirming a change to your direct deposit information that you didn't authorize, take action immediately. Contact the agency responsible for the payment and your bank immediately.
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