Cyber Crime Warning-Please take seriously
Thursday, February 13, 2014
We had a bit of excitement today. DH got a call this morning from a lady who said she was from social security. He figured it was some scam but gave the phone to me. She went thru her spiel again and I said I wouldn't give her any info over the phone. Well, she said let's set up an appointment and I asked how soon. She said can you be in the local office by 10. I agreed and expected when we arrived there would not be anyone there by the name she gave us and this was just a way to get rid of us without giving up the scam since I wouldn't give her any information. Well, much to our surprise, it was legit!!!!
Someone has somehow gotten DH's social security number and they have set up an online account with the SSA. They set up a new e-mail address for him and changed his address to Miami. DH is computer illiterate and never touches this one so....nuff said! Well, the agent got the bogus account deleted and his address changed back to here after DH proved who he was and then she did the first steps of setting up a new account (was the only way we could set up a new one because of this fraud) and since DH was compromised she also set up one for me as a precaution. I had set up an account when I filed for my social security but it was before 2013 so they have since set up a new system so it was inactive. She gave me a bunch of steps to do to make sure our financial life isn't destroyed so that has taken up most of my day!!! She advised me to tell everyone we know to go online to www.socialsecurity.gov and set up their online account. These "crooks" are looking for people who haven't set up accounts when they get your SS#. If they get past setting up an online account they wait a short amount of time and then they start opening new accounts, file bogus tax returns, get your direct deposit of ss benefits rerouted to an account they set up, etc. She also suggested that when one answer the security questions to help stop the thieves to make sure it is info they aren't likely to know the answers to! If you want, please share this info with all your friends and family. The more people who protect their SS account the less chance of being compromised. This isn't just for retired folks, these crooks manage to do all kinds of things according to this lady. I am just thankful that social security has set up a program that is watching for irregular activity and that they contacted us. She told us this is a growing problem and they are trying to stay ahead of the crooks but it is quite a battle. She had several people she was contacting today!!!
Actually after we left there I realized we had gotten a letter from SS while we were on the cruise but I hadn't paid much attention to it! DUH-BIG MISTAKE. When I came home and re-read it, it thanked DH for setting up a new account. My first clue that something was wrong and it said to contact them if he hadn't done it. If I had actually read the letter, I would have already been aware of the problem. Won't make that mistake again!!! I guess I was overtired from the cruise when I sorted thru our mail quickly and it just didn't register and I hadn't gone back to go over it yet!
As soon as we left there, we went directly to the bank and talked to a personal rep. She flagged our accounts to let them know to be on the alert for any suspicious activity. She made notes of what had transpired so hopefully we covered that base.
Then when we got home, I got online and finished setting up our online accounts with SS that the agent had started for us. Now I think we are protected from this crook.
I had to file a report with the FTC about this as it is cyber crime. Once that was filed, I had to file with another agency that tracks cybercrime and they report it to the corresponding police and other agencies that might be interested. My last thing to do was pull a credit report. She suggested I j pull one now and check it and then wait a couple months and pull from one of the other agencies and be sure all is still ok. I also put a fraud alert on the account and that puts it on all 3 so hopefully no new accounts will be opened without alerting us. She also suggested waiting about 6 mo and pulling the final report as the fraud alert is only active for 90 days. So much to do to stop fraud! I had been thru a lot of this as I had my credit card stolen back in the 90's. Pretty sure it was the tenant in my house then but could never prove it. I worked for a year to get that mess straightened out. Back then it wasn't as easy as one could not do it on the internet-I spent most of my lunch hours on the phone and I still have that file-it is over a foot thick!!
So went my day-I have printed scads of forms and spent several hours on here but hopefully we have averted anything bad happening!!!!! I still need to contract the IRS to make sure no one filed a tax return for us.
PLEASE everyone take this seriously and set up your online account with social security. Tell all your friends and family to do this also and have them spread the word. The more people who do this the less chance of this scam being successful. Of course, I am sure they will figure out something else instead of doing an honest day of work but protect yourself, your friends and your family.