Fraudsters Hit My Social Security Payment. Now What?

Social Security “checks” are no longer a thing. People who receive retirement, disability, or death benefits have to get them through direct deposit or a debit card. What happens when fraudsters strike and that money goes missing from the card? Too bad for you, apparently. That’s what one retiree learned when $824 in  charges she didn’t make disappeared from her debit card. 

She says that she felt “violated” when she learned that the money was gone and that her card had been breached, but the bigger problem was getting that money back. Officially, banks have ten days to put the money back. If the fraud investigation isn’t done by then…well, too bad. The bank has to put the money back anyway, at least on a provisional basis.

She took her case to consumer reporter Kurtis Ming, who found out…well, not all that much. The bank that handles Social Security payments, Comerica, wouldn’t discuss her case, but did offer a generic apology.

If you or a relative encounter a similar problem with Social Security or other federal payments, there are two places you can contact: the Federal Reserve consumer help squad (888-851-1920) or the Treasury Department public affairs team (202-874-6740).

Is a ten-day delay too long for government benefits? The victim in this case pointed out that her Social Security payment is her only income, and being unable to pay her rent or bills through no fault of her own was a serious problem. Plus, the bank that administers her debit card ignored the ten-day rule and took six weeks to restore the pilfered funds. She switched to direct deposit, cutting Comerica out of her finances entirely.

Call Kurtis: What Happens When There’s Fraud On My Government-issued Debit Card? [CBS Sacramento]