Wednesday, August 28, 2019
The New York Times recently reported indictments against five perpetrators of an identity theft scam that targeted vets.
5 Indicted in Identity Theft Scheme That Bilked Millions From Veterans explains how the scam worked:
First, they secretly photographed the Social Security and bank account numbers of thousands of veterans and senior military members on a computer screen at a United States Army base in South Korea.
Then, they used the personal information to withdraw or reroute millions of dollars in disability benefits and other payments made to veterans. The stolen funds were later wired to the bank accounts of so-called money mules and laundered so that they could not be traced.
The perpetrators were charged with aggravated identity theft, wire fraud and conspiracy according to the article. Described as the largest ever perpetrated against military personnel, "the personal information of more than 3,000 veterans and military personnel had been compromised over a period from 2014 to 2019. Many of the victims were disabled and older, and were unlikely to access their account information online." DOJ is still looking to identify victims. "The Justice Department and Veterans Affairs are in the process of notifying victims and trying to help them recover lost funds."