ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Two St. Louisans on Friday go on federal trial accused of scamming more than 60 people out of their Social Security benefits.
Police said those benefits were being mailed to a home on Meramec Drive in south St. Louis via debit cards.
Some victims fell for an old trick, giving up their info when told they won the Jamaican Lottery. But other victims were wise to the scam and didn’t give up their information.
“With some of our victims though, they hung up on the individuals and did not give out information and they still had their social security accounts taken over,” said U.S. Attorney Richard Callahan.
The federal indictment says Andre DePass and Jayneise Hampton of south St. Louis worked with Nollis Hudson in Jamaica. They’re accused of calling people and telling them they’d won the Jamaican Lottery. Those who fell for it gave up their Social Security information thinking they were simply paying taxes on their winnings.
Using that information, the suspects changed the address of where the benefits were sent.
But some of the victims never gave up their info, yet somehow their benefits ended up being sent to the scammers in south St. Louis. And that has the feds scrambling to figure out how they did it.
“We're not clear how they were able to focus so much on elderly people,” said Callahan.
The Inspector General is currently investigating. And we went to the Social Security Administration to find out what they’re doing about it.
“We're always asking our employees to be vigilant to any kind of irregularities or things they might notice within processing a claim,” said Jewell Colbert, Social Security Communications Director.
In other words, they’re not doing anything different at this point.
The basic advice here is don’t give up your information to anyone you don’t know. And don’t believe someone when they say you won a contest you never even entered.
But this story doesn’t have a happy ending. While DePass and Hampton are in custody and set to go on trial, their methods are still a mystery.
“I suspect that's going to go beyond the case we have here in Missouri,” said Callahan.