Local veteran fighting to get his money back after security breach

    Veterans by U.S. Air Force MGN.jpg

    A Carrollton veteran is fighting to get his money back after he became a victim of a security breach.

    Joshua Smith says the disability check he relies on was fraudulently deposited into a scammers' bank account.

    Smith says he left the army in 2010 with PTSD. He said he relies on a disability check but this month a security breach caused him to not get his money. He uses what's known as eBenefits. It's a portal managed by Veteran's Affairs and the Department of Defense that allows vets to access their benefits. Smith says the VA told him a scammer accessed his eBenefits account, changed his bank into their own, and got his direct deposit. "I just had my car insurance canceled because I haven't had the money to pay for it," he says. The VA sent him a letter after the changes were made but Smith says he didn't receive it until this week. Smith wants to know how this happened without the VA verifying he requested the changes. We reached out to the VA to find out but it did not return our calls. It sent a statement that did not directly answer our questions including how many victims were in 2018. According to published reports, there have been thousands. The VA's statement said in part "veterans are targets of many of the same types of fraud as the reset of society."Carl Heiden is the president and CEO of IT security company, Heiden Technology Solutions, in Saginaw. He says breaches like this are why everyone should use two-factor authentication for financial accounts.

    "The best thing to do is set up whats called two-factor authentication. It requires you to enter a password, it will send a text to your phone or it will send you an email or some type of verification that it's you logging into the account," he says.

    Smith says he wishes eBenefits had a similar protocol saying veterans deserve better.

    "Going through everything you've been through over there and now dealing with this back here," he says. He's also concerned his next check will be compromised. Smith says the VA told him the investigation could take up to six weeks.

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