Several Hazelwood residents have reported being victimized by this scam which has prompted the department to alert all citizens. NewsChannel 5 recently did a story after the Social Security Administration confirmed its investigation of possible online fraud. The complaints first started coming in from people visiting the Social Security office in Fenton. Between 20 to 40 people came in with a letter they received in the mail stating they had successfully signed up for online access to their Social Security Account. The problem is, those people never signed up for it.
Some of the victims have reported scammers trying to change the direct-deposit information for their monthly Social Security checks to a different bank account. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has confirmed that it’s been tracking tens of thousands of similar cases, making it a nationwide problem. An assistant inspector says this is not necessarily a new crime, but a new twist on a scam the agency has seen going back to 2011 that involves re-directing of Social Security direct deposits. The OIG is investigating allegations from a number of locations around the country now, and will work with the Social Security Administration to make this crime more difficult to commit.
The Social Security Administration says their system has not been hacked or compromised in any way. In a released statement, the Social Security Administration says this: “We are unable to provide specific information at this time. But it appears some people’s personal information may been compromised by identity thieves sometime in their past. However, it is important to note when we receive reports of possible fraudulent activity, we immediately refer those allegations to the Social Security Office of the Inspector General for further investigation. If someone believes they have been the victim of identity theft, they should contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261. Or, go to www.idtheft.gov and click on the link for ‘Report Identity Theft.'”