Schemers are directing payments to their own accounts

A new scam tied to your social security benefits is hitting the radar as the Social Security Administration preps for a big change.  Seniors are finding their information stolen and used as the SSA works to cut out paper checks and go straight to direct deposit.

You go to great lengths to protect your Social Security number and this recent scam is the reason why.  According to reports, identity thieves are cashing in and stealing social security numbers from seniors and using them to re-route the benefits to their own bank accounts or pre-paid cards.

CNN is reporting the Inspector Heneral's office has received more than 19,000 reports of questionable changes or attempted changes to a beneficiary's direct deposit information, although not all are tied to fraud.  The IG's office, according to CNN, says the social security administration needs to do more to verify your identity if changes are being made to your account, like alerting you through an automated email, letter or text. 

But how do you prevent this kind of fraud in the first place? First, be wary of anyone asking for your personal information over the phone or by email.  Government agencies don't do that.  And if you want to go further, it is possible to inform the SSA no changes can be made to your account unless you appear in person with ID.  Click here to find out how.

If you notice a delay in your payment from the SSA or think your account may have been used for fraud, you should contact the Office of the Inspector General.

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