HOW IT WORKS AND WHAT YOU CAN DO TO PROTECT YOUR BENEFITS
Jennifer’s Kreegar is a vet living off her VA disability having served part of the time at the National Security Agency, the agency charged with protecting, yes, her VA benefits.
Only they failed Kreeger and thousands of other people receiving VA and Social Security retirement and disability benefits. Kreeger found this out when she went to check her deposit in the Direct Express payment program. Comerica Bank administers Direct Express, which provides electronic payments to 4.5 million Americans with no bank accounts who collect social security, disability and veteran benefits monthly checks. Imagine her reaction when she found $10 in the account. All of her benefits and savings were gone.
How? Pretty simply it turns out. A scammer sent a change of address card to Direct Express for Ms. Kreeger. The address was changed without notifying Ms. Kreeger for 3 weeks. Until it was too late.
Once that was done, the scammer sent a request for a replacement card, sent of course to the new address. The card was sent without notifying Ms. Kreeger.
Once the scammers had her new card, they wiped out her savings, leaving her with $10. And she isn’t alone. Read what happened and about the lawsuit that was filed against Direct Express here.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR BENEFITS
If you use Direct Express for your Social Security benefits or Veterans or SSDI benefits, please take these steps to protect your account.
- Open an account with a bank or financial institution that has security measures in place. Ask them about their security protocols and set up text alerts or other forms of alerts before a change of address, phone number, email or name can be issued (there might be a small charge for this but it is worth it.)
- NEVER share your personal information, account number or pin with anyone on the phone unless you initiate the call.
- PLEASE use complicated passwords that have a combination of upper an lower case letters, numbers and symbols and change it every few months. Here’s an excellent article on creating strong passwords.
WHAT TO DO IF YOUR ACCOUNT HAS BEEN HACKED
If your Direct Express Account is compromised:
Call the number on the back of your card; Direct Express, 1-888-741-1115
Read here to learn how to protect yourself from phishing scams that are targeting those who receive Social Security disability benefits.
Hoffman, Larin & Agnetti, P.A. has been protecting the legal rights throughout South Florida since 1975.