Tampa, FL (Law Firm Newswire) July 29, 2013 — Florida seniors are reporting that their Social Security accounts have been accessed by identity thieves.
A new scam hitting numerous seniors in Florida is leveraging the latest online changes in Social Security access. Seniors who have been contacted for personal information by someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) are right to be suspicious, elder advocates say.
“Seniors have reported receiving calls asking for personal information, and have also been getting mailed confirmation that they have established an online Social Security account when, in fact, they had not done so,” warns Tampa social security lawyer and disability attorney David W. Magann. “Identify thieves have been stealing personal information and setting up accounts in order to receive the Social Security benefits meant for others.”
There have been at least 35 victims of the online scam in Florida in the past few months, reports the Social Security Administration; nationwide, the number of victims is at least 36,000.
The number one way the scam artists get personal information, elder advocates say, is by calling seniors and asking for personal information, such as social security numbers, posing as either an official from Social Security, Medicaid or another agency. They then open an account at a Social Security office or bank, or change the direct deposit information on an account that is already established.
The Social Security Administration is currently conducting an internal audit of the online system to determine the extent of the fraud that has already occurred and how to make the system more secure going forward. The SSA is advising the public to take several simple steps to protect their social security accounts. First, protect personal information. Individuals are advised to not give out social security account information or banking information over the phone to someone who calls. The SSA does not contact individuals by phone to receive updated account information; anyone identifying themselves as working with the SSA and requesting information should not be considered credible. Also, individuals who have not yet set up an online Social Security should do so in order to preemptively have control of the account, and will have control over direct deposit and contact information.
David W. Magann, P.A.
156 W. Robertson St.
Brandon, FL 33511
Call: (813) 657-9175
6107 Memorial Hwy
Tampa, Florida 33615
South Tampa Office:
Bank of Tampa Building
601 Bayshore Blvd Ste 105
Tampa, FL 33606