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Social Security Administration warns clients about theft

The Social Security Administration is reminding those receiving benefits to be careful to protect their personal information after a report of several benefit thefts. Whether on Long Island or in any part of New York, residents should contact the agency if they do not receive their payments. In most cases, payments can be reissued by the Social Security Administration in the event they have been lost or stolen.

Recently, it was reported that a 67-year-old man receiving Social Security benefits since 1995 had two payments stolen as he was in the process of switching to direct deposit. The Social Security Administration reports that it is investigating the case. It is suspected that the personal information of the benefit recipient was intercepted and used to convince an SSA employee to route payments onto several Walmart money cards.

Social Security Administration officials remind recipients that they should never reveal personal information by telephone to anyone, including a Social Security number, unless the recipient is absolutely sure that he or she knows for sure who the person on the phone is. In fact, agency sources say that the phone call should be initiated by the recipient rather than from the agency, unless it is a call back from an earlier contact. The agency rarely calls its clients and almost never calls to ask for information such as a Social Security number, date of birth and banking information.

New York recipients of Social Security benefits would be well advised to contact the agency promptly if there has been a problem with their payments. In view of the fact that payments can be replaced, most errors can be corrected quickly. But in an age where identify theft and other forms of fraud are regrettably prevalent, every reasonable effort should be made to safeguard personal information and to seek assistance at the first sign that something has run amok.

Source: NBC 4i, "Chillicothe Senior Citizen Has 2 Social Security Checks Stolen," Rick Reitzel, March 7, 2012

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