As we have written about in the past and as many disability benefits recipients know, the Social Security Administration has made all benefits payments electronic. While many were easily able to adapt to this change by utilizing the direct deposit option, those who do not have a bank account were given Direct Express cards. The Direct Express card is similar to a debit card, but allows people without bank accounts to still collect their benefits. Unfortunately, the SSA recently announced that some Direct Express holders have been victimized by scammers.
According to the SSA, some Direct Express holders have received text messages that instruct them to verify their cards due to an "internal error." Card holders are told to call a phone number and provide all of their card information, including the number, expiration date and PIN.
The SSA has instructed Direct Express holders to not respond to such a text if they get one. The agency added that if a benefits recipient notices anything strange in their account, such as a transaction they did not complete, the card holder should contact Direct Express to determine the problem.
Many people in New York and across the country rely on the Security disability benefits and other federal benefits they receive each month to make ends meet. Unfortunately, some people prey on these individuals, attempting to take away what little they have. Hopefully the SSA will continue to find ways to prevent scams like this from occurring. In the meantime, do not give away any of your information unless you are sure you are giving it to the right people.
Source: KWQC, "Social Security Administration Warns Of Texting Scam," Jeff Whitten, July 16, 2013