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Social Security Fraud
Old 01-25-2018, 04:13 PM   #1
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Social Security Fraud

I have been at my local Social Security office all afternoon (there was quite a wait to speak to someone) and I have found out that I am the victim of Social Security fraud/identity theft. I think someone else had this problem on the Forums earlier and there was a thread but I cannot find it so I will start a new thread.

I had been receiving Social Security on my husband's account and was deferring my own SS payments until age 70. So today I get a letter from SS saying that I had changed to my own payments and they were sending me a lump sum payment of over $3,000 a couple of days ago. I had not made any such request. I got on my online SS account and found that the my banking info for payments had been changed to "GO Bank", something I had never heard of.

I immediately went to my local SS office and they are reversing everything. They said this is a fraud problem that is rampant for Social Security, they are seeing many, many cases. I asked how this could happen and I never got a straight answer. I don't think it could have happened through my online account because to log in to that account I receive a text number. The person I talked to at the local SS office ( who was very helpful) said it should have never of happened because before this change was made I should have been called by SS but I was not.

Has this happened to anyone else? While the person at the SS office did not come out and say this, several things she said led me to believe it may be an inside job.

To prevent this from happening again, a lock is being put on my online account so it can not be used anymore (same thing for my husband's account) but since I do not think this was done through my online account, a lock may not help. Since I will have a lock, I will have to go to the SS Office in person for any changes in the future.

I have had all my credit agency accounts frozen for many years. I will check my credit reports to just be sure there are no problems there. Any thing else I should do?

Everyone may want to go to their online SS accounts and check to be sure their banking information has not been changed or that there is not anything else unusual.
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:27 PM   #2
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Thanks for this cautionary tale. I'm in the same situation as you- collecting Survivor benefits, planning to collect my own at age 70- and I just got on the SSA site and all is well with my account, including the bank info. I'll have to make a point of checking it more frequently.
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Old 01-25-2018, 04:59 PM   #3
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Wow!
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Old 01-25-2018, 05:45 PM   #4
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I'll just look at my monthly statement from the bank. If it's not there I'll call SS.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:19 AM   #5
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OP here. I thought there was a thread about this SS fraud here on Early Retirement, but I find that the early thread is actually on Bogleheads.
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:45 AM   #6
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OP - thanks for the heads up.

It's possible it was done over the phone, someone with some of your info, phones in and gets the helpful call center person to change the bank.

Often when I phone banks or brokerages, I'm pretty surprised and alarmed at how little info they demand as proof I'm me, and what they are willing to do.

Of course it could be a SS worker selling your info (along with thousands of others).
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Old 01-26-2018, 10:57 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harllee View Post

I don't think it could have happened through my online account because to log in to that account I receive a text number.
This is not just a SS problem.

The SMS texting system is not very secure. It was not built with security in mind. It is a shame that many banks and financial institutions use it as the primary way of enforcing 2 Factor Authentication.
OTOH, it is certainly better than not having 2FA at all.

Athena's point about checking account information frequently is a good one.
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Old 01-26-2018, 01:41 PM   #8
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It was more than just changing the bank that my SS payments go to --they also filed a claim for my Social Security payments and reversed my restricted application to receive only my husband's payments that I had done last year.

According to the person at the SS office I spoke to, this change was not suppose to be done without someone at SS talking to me personally and asking a bunch of questions. That did not happen. That is why I think someone inside SS was involved.

In any event no one can change any of my SS information going forward without an in person visit to the SS office.

Just wanted to give everyone a heads up on this--the SS person I spoke to said they are getting many people in every day at the local office with similar fraud problems and she said it was a problem with how the Social Security department is functioning.
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Old 01-26-2018, 02:16 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by athena53 View Post
Thanks for this cautionary tale. I'm in the same situation as you- collecting Survivor benefits, planning to collect my own at age 70- and I just got on the SSA site and all is well with my account, including the bank info. I'll have to make a point of checking it more frequently.
She's not been on survivor benefits, but spousal benefits.
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Old 03-06-2018, 03:25 PM   #10
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OP here. I wanted to update everyone on my SS fraud issue. I had a terrible time dealing with SS. SS employees would not return my call or if they did the call would be unintelligible. I visited the local SS office twice--long waits only to be told they were swamped by fraud claims and could not tell me we this would ever be resolved. All the while I was not receiving my SS payments.

So I decided to contact my Congressman last week. i had to file out a form and send it to the Congressman's office. I was called by someone who works in the Congressman's office who specializes in SS problems. This person understood my problem immediately and said they were seeing a lot of SS fraud issues. The Congressman's office made one call on my behalf to the local SS office and EUREKA my missing SS payments show up in my checking account today. I don't know if it is all resolved but at least I got my missing payments.

So if you are having SS problems (or problems with any federal agency) you might want to contact your Congressman's office.

Everyone needs to be on the lookout for SS fraud. I was told that the number of SS fraud cases have greatly increased since the Equifax hack. I think that my personal info was stolen through the Equifax hack.

I was also told that the Congressman's legislative aid was looking into the SS fraud issue to see what can be done legislatively to stop all this SS fraud.
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Old 03-19-2018, 02:25 PM   #11
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OP here, rant time, another update to my never ending saga of my Social Security identity theft. With the help of my Congressman I am finally now receiving my monthly SS payments. But I had to go to the doctor and my doctor informed me that my Medicare card no long worked. I called Medicare and was told that my Medicare had been "cancelled" as part of the cancellation of the fraud application. But I said, the Medicare payments are still coming out of my SS deposit every month. Doesn't matter Medicare says, Social Security dropped the ball and did not inform them that my Medicare was to continue.

So another long trip to the local SS office, wait forever, finally see the person in charge of my case. Oh she says, SS failed to notify Medicare to keep you on Medicare, I will have to send a message to headquarters to get his fixed. How long will this take I ask? Oh a couple of month was the answer. I almost blew a gasket. What if I get sick and need medical care in the meantime? Too bad was the answer, in effect, not my problem.

So I have contacted my Congressman's office again for help.

I can't believe the awful service I have received from Social Security. I don't know if the SS employees are so overworked they can't get anything done correctly or if they are just incompetent.

I am really mad about this and concerned about what will happen if I get sick before I get my Medicare coverage back. If I could find the thief who stole my identity and started all this mess I would give them a good beating. (But the thief is probably in Russia or somewhere). Thanks for listening to my rant.
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Old 03-19-2018, 04:25 PM   #12
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Oh, wow. I'd be livid!

I wonder if there are any journalists left who might be interested in running your story.

It certainly seems the kind of thing that someone should be shining a very bright light on.
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Old 03-19-2018, 05:00 PM   #13
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OP, it is posts like yours that reinforce my position that the less power the government has, the better.

If a company is incompetent, you can do business with another company. When social security or medicare is incompetent, you are stuck...and the worst part is that they know you are stuck and can just not care.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:19 PM   #14
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The court system is there for you if something is done contrary to the law.
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Old 03-19-2018, 07:49 PM   #15
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The court system is there for you if something is done contrary to the law.
Lol! Good one.
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