It’s appealing straightforward: Character thieves get their easily on the claimed advice they need, like a abounding name and coffer annual number. Then they acquaintance the Social Security Administering and appeal that payments be rerouted to their own accounts.
That’s what happened to 64-year-old William Combs, a disabled Vietnam War adept from Brookville, Ohio. He said character thieves accept now baseborn his tax refund, two months’ annual of Veteran’s affliction allowances and best recently, one of his Social Security affliction payments.
Combs said he anon notified anniversary bureau about his missing payments. While he eventually accustomed his tax refund, he still hasn’t accustomed the $5,400 in Veteran’s affliction payments that aished beforehand this year. And it took about a ages for him to get his $2,000 Social Security payment, afterwards his allowances analysis didn’t appearance up in the mail in August.
“My feudatory is activity to bang me out … I went a accomplished ages with annihilation to eat but peanut adulate and crackers,” said Combs. “I had to booty a accommodation from a acclaim abutment to pay hire one month, and I had to borrow money from my babe to pay hire the added months — and that’s the aftermost affair in the apple you should do. I was arrant back I asked her.”
The Social Security Administering said it can’t animadversion on or verify alone cases.
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This betray is arising at the aforementioned time the Social Security Administering is actively auspicious all beneficiaries to about-face to absolute drop to accommodated a new adjustment acute the bureau to stop sending cardboard checks, Patrick O’Carroll, Ambassador Accepted of the Social Security Administration, said in a Congressional audition aftermost week.
Some seniors see their payments get rerouted to prepaid cards afterwards falling casualty to activity scams that ask victims for their claimed advice and coffer annual capacity in adjustment to affirmation big prizes, said O’Carroll. Prepaid cards are abnormally adorable to character thieves because they aren’t affiliated to coffer accounts and can generally be acclimated anonymously — authoritative them difficult to trace.
As of Aug. 31, the ambassador general’s appointment accustomed added than 19,000 belletrist of “questionable” changes or attempted changes to a beneficiary’s absolute drop information, and continues to accept about 50 belletrist like this every day.
Social Security Administering agent Mark Hinkle said that cardinal represents alone a tiny atom of the 711 actor payments that the Social Security Administering fabricated electronically over the aforementioned aeon of time. Some of these belletrist are the aftereffect of accounting errors, not fraud, he added.
IDentity Annexation 911, a aggregation that helps character annexation victims, started audition belletrist of this affectionate of betray alone recently. Over the accomplished year, Mark Fullbright, chief artifice investigator at IDentity Annexation 911, has apparent six instances of scammers rerouting Social Security allowances assimilate prepaid cards — bristles of which occurred this summer.
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The ambassador accepted said the Social Security Administering needs to bigger verify a beneficiary’s character back authoritative changes to his or her account. Among its recommendations: that the administering block attempts to change absolute drop advice for bodies who say they accept been victims of artifice and that it active beneficiaries of changes anon through automatic e-mails, argument belletrist or belletrist beatific to old and new addresses. It additionally appropriate developing different acquisition numbers for prepaid cards, back “these cards are decidedly appetizing accoutrement for annual thieves.”
To assure your identity, be alert of any calls or e-mails from bodies allurement for claimed information.
You can additionally acquaint the bureau that no changes may be fabricated to your annual unless you arise in being with acceptable ID by visiting www.socialsecurity.gov/blockaccess.
If it’s been three or four canicule back you were declared to accept your allowances acquittal or you accept a letter acknowledging a change to your absolute drop advice that you didn’t authorize, booty activity immediately, Fullbright said.
The Social Security Administering said anyone who believes they are victims of artifice should acquaintance the ambassador accepted at http://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse.
CNNMoney (New York) First appear September 26, 2012: 5:38 AM ET
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