I-Team 8

Phishing scam hits Direct Express debit cards for Social Security; woman loses $900

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The U.S. Treasury Department doesn’t send out checks anymore. It requires all funds, including Social Security disability, be deposited electronically.

If someone does not have a bank account, the Treasury Department recommends people use a Direct Express debit card.   

Charity Golden receives Social Security supplemental income payments every month. Life has not always been kind to her, and she is picking up the pieces and moving forward. When Golden was first approved for supplemental income payments, she didn’t have a bank account. Golden signed up for a Direct Express debit card on the Social Security Administration’s website.  

“So I called Social Security and what they told me was very matter-of-fact on the national line, well, that was the financial institution you chose and we have nothing to do with that. You have to deal with them,” Golden said.  

Direct Express is a debit Mastercard and, according to a video put out by the Social Security Administration, the card can be used just like any other debit card. She told I-Team 8 that a few months ago her Direct Express debit card number had been compromised and someone drained her account. Turns out she is the victim of a phishing scam  

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“I contacted them first, so I will give them my information. Then, they emailed me and found a way into my computer and I believe they are the ones hacking me, the second and third time,” Golden said. 

In total, $900 is gone. She got online and started tracking the fraudulent transactions, gathered up all the information and sent it to Direct Express, the company put a hold on her account while she waited for a new card.

“When they closed it they were supposed to send out a new card. Well, they sent it to the people hacking my account and not to me. I never got it, never got the investigation paperwork and then they said they would not cover my losses,” Golden said. 

She was able to put a hold on the account but is still out several hundred dollars.  

I-Team 8 called the Indianapolis office of the Social Security Administration. Its operators took Golden’s email address and said they would look into her problem.  

Golden has since opened a checking account, and her money is deposited to that account.  

I-Team 8 made several attempts to contact the company but could not get anyone to answer phone calls. 

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