N.Y. Reps Want Investigation Into Phone Scam Targeting 9/11 Victims
Three New York congressional representatives have asking the Federal Trade Commission to investigate reports that scammers are posing as Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund staffers to get first responders' and survivors' personal information.
Reps. Carolyn B. Maloney (D-New York), Jerrold Nadler (D-New York), and Peter King (R-New York) publicized their effort Sunday. FTC representatives haven't immediately responded to an email inquiry.
The fund currently benefits people with health problems believed to be related to the 2001 terror attacks. An alert on the fund's website says unknown people are making calls claiming to be staffers and requesting information, supposedly to help with claims.
The scam calls reportedly come in from different phone numbers and people using different names. They say they are on the staff of the “Victim Compensation Fund,” “Victim Compensation Board,” or “VCF,” and then go on to ask for personal information to confirm people’s identity, medical history, and claim status, the members of Congress said.
“For anyone to prey upon them; anyone to be taking advantage of them; anyone to be using them as part of the scam is an absolute disgrace. These are men and women who worked for days, weeks, and months after 9/11 down at Ground Zero, and that’s how they got these horrible illnesses,” King told 1010 WINS.
The actual Victims Compensation Fund said anyone who receives a call about a claim or potential eligibility for compensation from someone they suspect is not really from the organization, they should not provide any information to the caller. When possible, anyone receiving such a call should note details such as date, time, caller ID if available, name of caller, and questions asked.
The calls should be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP or online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov. Anyone who is unsure about whether a caller is from the Victims Compensation Fund should call the organization Help Line at (855) 885-1555.
The fund noted that real calls it places follow a standard protocol for validating claimants’ identities, and effective immediately will not ask for anyone’s full Social Security number.
King, Maloney and Nadler want the FTC to open a formal investigation.