April 24, 2018

Schumer, Gillibrand Demand Special DOJ IG Probe Into Scam Targeting September 11th Victims Compensation Fund Recipients; Vcf Is Overseen By Doj & Senators Say Fed Agency Must Swiftly Determine Who Is Going After 9/11 Vics And How

Senators Say DOJ Must Determine Who Is Behind 9/11 VCF Scam In Order To Fully Assess Its Impact, Schumer, Gillibrand: 9/11 Families Have Suffered Enough

Washington, DC – U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer and U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today wrote a letter to Department of Justice Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz demanding an investigation into a scam targeting ill and injured 9/11 responders. Scammers are contacting the responders, claiming to be with the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), and requesting personal and private information.

“Targeting 9/11 families to trick them into stealing their sensitive health and financial information is sick and twisted and demands immediate attention by the Department of Justice. 9/11 families have suffered enough and that is why the DOJ, which oversees the VCF, must move fast and open a formal investigation to identify the perpetrators and their methods. My message to these scammers is simple: you can run but you cannot hide. Any attempts to further inflict pain on 9/11 families will not stand – you will be caught and brought to justice,” said Senator Schumer.

“I am disturbed that predatory scammers have been targeting our 9/11 heroes, and I urge the Justice Department Inspector General to immediately investigate these potential crimes,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Our 9/11 responders risked their lives for us after we were attacked, many of them are now sick because of their work at Ground Zero, and we have a duty to get to the bottom of what happened and demand accountability for any wrongdoing.”

“We write today to ask you to open a formal investigation into the scam being perpetrated on injured and ill 9/11 responders. Responders have contacted our offices and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which is overseen by the Department of Justice, to report that they have received calls from people purporting to be from the VCF,” the Senators wrote“In addition to responders, it appears that the perpetrators of this scam are also targeting staff at the law firms that have helped process the VCF applications on their behalf. We request that your office use your investigatory powers to work with the VCF to track and identify the data source that allowed scammers access to this private information. By determining the source the data, we may be able to prevent more 9/11 responders from becoming a target.”

The Senators’ letter is available here and below.

Mr. Michael E. Horowitz

Inspector General

U.S. Department of Justice

Office of the Inspector General

950 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.,

Suite 4706

Washington, D.C. 20530-0001

Dear Inspector General Horowitz;

We write today to ask you to open a formal investigation into the scam being perpetrated on injured and ill 9/11 responders. Responders have contacted our offices and the September 11th Victims Compensation Fund (VCF), which is overseen by the Department of Justice, to report that they have received calls from people purporting to be from the VCF, who are asking for social security numbers, birthdays, credit card numbers and other sensitive information.  

While we are pleased that the FTC has issued a consumer alert warning about the scam, we urgently need to find out how these scammers gained access to the names and contact information of the 9/11 community. These 9/11 first responders have spent countless years fighting for both access to care and compensation for their efforts following the terrorist attacks, and it is particularly despicable that they are now being targeted by individuals seeking to harm them and use their private information for financial gain.   

In addition to responders, it appears that the perpetrators of this scam are also targeting staff at the law firms that have helped process the VCF applications on their behalf. For these reasons, we believe that there must be a common source for information among the people targeted. We request that your office use your investigatory powers to work with the VCF to track and identify the data source that allowed scammers access to this private information. By determining the source the data, we may be able to prevent more 9/11 responders from becoming a target.  

This scam is a new low that puts our most vulnerable first responders and their families at risk. We urge you to take swift action to begin a formal investigation that will protect these heroes who put their own lives at risk following the terrorist attacks on 9/11. Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely,