NBC10 - Lu Ann Cahn
George Morris stopped receiving his social security checks because someone -- who may have had a personal vendetta against the northeast Philadelphia man -- reported his death to the federal government. Now, he has to prove to them that he is still alive. NBC10's Lu Ann Cahn reports.
A Northeast Philadelphia man says when his social security checks were cut off, he was stunned when the federal government told him the reason why.
George Morris had been declared dead.
"I think I'm alive," says Morris, a former truck driver, who is reliant on these checks after a stroke left him with vision problems.
Morris says someone called the SSA, claiming to be a relative and reported him dead on May 30.
"I asked them, I said, "Why didn't they produce a death certificate?" ' says Morris.
The Social Security Administration says a family member can report a death by providing certain identifying information and they are not required to produce a death certificate.
The SSA tells NBC10 that in George's case, the person who called in was able to verify his personal information.
"They had information about me and that's the worst part. I never shred anything, I always throw stuff in the trash," says Morris, who adds that he's also been receiving harassing text messages and believes the same person is responsible.
"It's not the typical fraud because the offender is not really looking for financial gain, the motive here seems to be revenge," says Dr. Rob D'ovidio, identity theft expert.
After NBC10 contacted the SSA, Morris has been sent back checks. But he says he is still working to get his situation straightened out with the bank.
The Social Security Administration says the biggest problem they deal with is fraud and that this case is unusual. They say their typical fraud cases involve families collecting checks, after their loved one has passed away.