It is the holiday season once more, and though this time of year can be filled with good cheer, it’s also the time of the year scammers are most active. These individuals will try to steal your personal information in order bilk you and the federal government out of money. And if you are not careful, some forms of identity theft could even affect your Social Security disability benefits.
How Identity Theft Could Put Your Social Security Disability Benefits at Risk
In November of 2015, a woman on SSDI received a letter from the Social Security Administration. The letter requested that she send the administration her tax returns for the years 2011,2012 and 2013, but the woman had filed no tax returns those years. She eventually realized that someone had used her Social Security information to file fraudulent tax returns, which showed up as gainful income to the SSA.
The woman went to police and filed a report that her identity had been stolen and the IRS started an investigation. However, the SSA scheduled a series of hearings, and before the police or the IRS could conclude their investigations, the agency ended the woman’s benefits.
The woman in this case wasn’t sure how her personal information had been stolen, but there are plenty of ways for identity thieves to con unsuspecting victims out of their vital info. The IRS warns that the agency will never call and ask for sensitive information like your Social Security number over the phone. The agency will also never threaten lawsuits or arrest over the phone either.
The IRS also warns that people should be suspicious of emails asking for vital information as well. These messages will often appear to be from reputable sources, but upon closer examination email addresses often have slight differences—“msn” spelled “rnsn” in order to fool the eye. Don’t be fooled. You should also be cautious about shopping while using public WIFI networks, as many of these access points are insecure.