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New scam targets beneficiaries of Social Security

After a workplace injury leaves a person incapable of returning to the workforce and the end of workers' compensation benefits appears on the horizon, many people in Ohio wonder what they can do to survive. Disabled individuals can apply for Social Security Disability benefits and should do so if they have become disabled due to an incident that was out of their control.

Millions of payments are made each year to disability beneficiaries. Though this may be promising to applicants, be careful once you have been approved and start receiving benefits: The large amount of money being exchanged has enticed people who are willing to scam individuals as well as the government. According to reports, the new scam targets seniors and the disabled -- both groups that receive benefits from the Social Security Administration.

Currently, the SSA is in the middle of a transition to paperless payments, meaning that each person who receives Social Security benefits must accept direct deposit. This transition has allowed identity thefts to use information they have gathered to have accounts transferred from paper checks to direct deposit, having the benefits deposited onto prepaid debit cards or into their own bank accounts.

According to the inspector general of the SSA, many victims have fallen prey to lottery scams that ask for personal information and bank account details so that the supposed winners can receive their nonexistent winnings. Sometime after, many beneficiaries have seen their payments rerouted. In one example, a 64-year-old Vietnam War veteran from Brookville, Ohio, is the victim. He is disabled and receives veterans' disability benefits as well as Social Security Disability payments.

His tax refund was taken, but has since been received. A $2,000 Social Security payment was also rerouted to him after it was stolen. But the $5,400 he should have received for his Veterans' disability payment has not come his way yet.

Source: CNN Money, "Scam targets seniors' Social Security benefits," Blake Ellis, Sept. 26, 2012

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