An appalling scam is directed at victims of the September 11th World Trade Center attacks, specifically those victims who are receiving, applying for, or potentially eligible for compensation from the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).
At Eisbrouch Marsh, we fight passionately on behalf of New Yorkers owed compensation for September 11th injuries and illnesses. To learn more, call Eisbrouch Marsh, LLC, in New York at 212-643-0044, or in Hackensack or Newark at 201-342-5545.
Here's How the Scam is Working Currently
Scammers are calling their chosen victims and asking them for personal information, including social security numbers, addresses and banking information. This type of information is used for identity theft and other nefarious purposes. These scammers claim to be from the VCF, from a law firm or elsewhere, and say they need the information in order to determine if the person they called is eligible for compensation.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, the phone number on your caller ID may show a New York area code. Regardless of the number, do not provide any identifying information over the phone to anyone claiming to need it for your VCF compensation. Here is what you should do instead:
- Ask for the name of the firm who is calling. Are they a law firm?
- Ask for their phone number and website
- Ask if they have the clients' registration number with the VCF
- Ask what they need the information for
- Take a phone number and call them back
It's also perfectly acceptable to hang up right away. Scammers are tricky and if you ask them questions, they may take the opportunity to manipulate you into answering their questions.
The exact nature of the scam may change. Don't give out any information if you receive a call. Here are some of the other things the scammers may ask you:
- For verification that you worked near the site of the 9/11 attacks
- For the status of your claim
- Whether you are aware that you are entitled to compensation
- For your name, birth date and other personal information
- For the mailing address they should send a package or form to
- Your medical history
For more information, you may wish to visit the website of the FTC or the 9/11 Fund. At this time, it is unknown how the scammers are getting the names and phone numbers of September 11th victims and people living in New York at the time.
"What if the VCF is legitimately trying to contact me?"
The 9/11 Fund knows these scams are occurring and wants people to know that they are not calling and asking for social security numbers. You should not answer any questions if someone calls you claiming to be from the Fund. Here's what to know and what to do:
- The VCF will never ask you for your social security number over the phone
- The VCF will never ask you for a credit card number over the phone
- Do not provide any information to a caller stating they are from the VCF
- Hang up and call the VCF directly at 1-855-885-1555 to find out if they are trying to contact you
- If possible, make a note of the phone number that called you and the questions they asked, and report the call to the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-FTC-HELP
By hanging up on the caller you will avoid any possibility of talking to a scammer. Because there is a possibility it is actually the VCF calling you, simply hang up and call the VCF helpline directly.
More Information About the Fund
The 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, or VCF, was established by Congress to compensate first responders, residents, students and other people who were sickened as a result of being in Lower Manhattan when the attacks occurred, or in the eight months following. Hundreds of thousands of people have developed illnesses, including cancer and respiratory disease, as a result of the toxic dust and other materials released into the disaster zone.
Attorney David Eisbrouch proudly handles the claims of people applying for VCF compensation. He can help you with your eligibility determination, and he is available to answer questions and concerns about this scam. It is unconscionable that a person would take advantage of another person in this way, under any circumstances. The fact that they are targeting individuals and families sickened by one of the worst tragedies in our country's history is nothing short of heinous and egregious.