What is the first thing you log onto when you sit down in front of your computer? Are you an avid user of social media sites? Or, perhaps you have to start by checking your email? Fraudsters are fleeing to the Internet to take advantage of what the World Wide Web has to offer in the form of scams. According to a KSDK.com article, defrauding Social Security recipients online is the new rage in what’s trending to fraud.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) is encouraging individuals to sign up for a new online account management system, which they believe will ease the distribution of benefits to recipients. (In a perfect world, yes.) One Missouri couple discovered they fell victim to the transition of online Social Security account management when they received a letter informing them they had opened a new SSA account, which they had not done. (“Maybe they forgot about opening it,” said the fraudster.) Luckily the couple caught the scam in time to save themselves from losing money. According to investigations, this luck has not been the case for tens of thousands of people nationwide. (It’s like gambling – everyone can’t get lucky all the time. The fraudsters are the card dealers – the ones in control of the luck.) An Assistant Inspector with the Office of the Inspector General stated the crime is not necessarily new, rather, it’s a twist on a scam that works to re-direct Social Security direct deposits. (New or old – the main point is that the fraudsters are still getting away with things.) The SSA indicated their system had not been hacked or compromised; however, they’ve ensured Social Security recipients they are working to make this crime more difficult to commit. (Am I missing something? It appears someone has compromised the system some way. Not to mention, they should be working to STOP this crime, not make it hard to commit. Some people love a challenge.) The investigations stemmed from a previous report, where 20 to 40 individuals in the Fenton, Missouri area showed up to the Social Security office complaining of similar identity theft and Social Security fraud scams. The criminals have not yet been caught; the SSA recommends people continue to use the system and report any suspicion of fraud to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
It appears fraudsters are finding the cracks in the system that let them fraud unrecognized. I think I’ll stick to checking my social media and email, as opposed to entering my personal identification information in places that are subject to theft.