News & Resources

Identity thieves target Social Security checks

Oct 07, 2012 Walt Wojciechowski

Identity theft isn't always committed by such overt acts as stealing a purse or taking someone's mail, as one new incident illustrates. A Florida couple recently lost $1,032 in Social Security payments as a result of identity theft, The Tampa Bay Times reports. The criminals accomplished this by convincing the Social Security Administration (SSA) that the couple had a new bank account number. The SSA payment then went directly onto the thief's debit card, the newspaper explains. However, the Florida couple is not alone in having troubles with their Social Security payments. According to the source, Inspector General Patrick O'Carroll recently told Congress that the agency has experienced a "rash" of fraudulent activity, which is posing a "serious issue" for the SSA. These sentiments are echoed by John Joyce, who's in charge of the Secret Service's Tampa office. "What irks me the most about Social Security benefits is that people are on a fixed income and they depend on that check coming in," Joyce told the newspaper. To help prevent losing Social Security payments, the agency offers numerous tips and services on its website that can help individuals trump identity thieves.