Just as the Social Security Administration is encouraging recipients to switch to direct deposit of funds, a new scam has been discovered that is targeting senior citizens and the disabled. According to an article on CNN.com, identity thieves are rerouting Social Security funds to their own bank accounts and prepaid debit cards.
Identity thieves simply need to get a person’s full name and bank account number. They then contact the Social Security Administration and have the payments changed to their own accounts.
According to the article, as of Aug. 31, the inspector general’s office received more than 19,000 reports of “questionable” changes or attempts to change a Social Security beneficiary’s direct deposit information.
In some cases, the identify thieves claim to have lottery prizes for victims, but tell the victim that they must provide their personal information including bank account information to claim the prize.
To protect yourself from identity theft, be suspicious of any calls or emails that request your personal information. You can also ask the Social Security Administration not to make any changes to your account unless you appear in person with ID. If you receive a letter stating that your information was changed with Social Security, but you did not authorize a change, report it immediately.