VA is posting the following warning on its Facebook page to warn veterans of a possible scam:
SCAM ALERT: We've just become aware of a new scam where fraudsters are targeting Social Security Administration direct deposit payments via post cards. While we are not aware of a similar scam targeting VA payments, it's something our community should be aware of:
- Some Title II beneficiaries had their direct deposit information changed and/or benefits redirected to Direct Express cards.
- The beneficiaries received fraudulent Post Cards informing them that there had been a change to their debit card address, which told them to call 877-411-6118 immediately if they did not make the change.
- Several victims had their direct deposit information changed through auto-enrollment in the Direct Express card program.
- Fraudsters appear to be doing this to divert victims from calling SSA / Direct Express when they have realized that their direct deposit information has been changed. The fraudster likely anticipates that the post card will reach the victim before they or SSA / Direct Express realize that their information has been changed. Thus, the post cards prompt the victim to call the phone number listed on the post card rather than the true SSA / Direct Express.
- Fraudsters are also likely collecting Personally Identifiable Information from those victims that do call the number on the post card. Victims, believing that they are talking to SSA / Direct Express, are much more likely to give out their personal information over the phone, especially when they are the initiators of the phone call.
The post cards allow the fraudster more time to collect additional benefit money from the victim. Victims, believing that they have resolved the problem through SSA / Direct Express, are less likely to call SSA / Direct Express right away, even if they notice that the issue is still not resolved. In addition, some victims may even call the fraudster back when the issue has not been resolved, further delaying the notification to the true SSA / Direct Express.
WHAT TO DO: If you encounter this scam, report it to SSA by calling 800-772-1213. If you encounter this scam in relation to VA, call 800-827-1000 and speak to a call center agent – they can assist with taking the necessary information and reporting the incident.