It is an honor to serve you in the U.S. House of Representatives. One of the most important roles of my office is providing critical assistance to the constituents of Ohio’s 15th District.
Specifically, my office has caseworkers that can help constituents navigate the issues they face with federal agencies, such as the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), Social Security Administration, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
While I am not able to override decisions, my office can cut red tape to help answer questions, check on claims, and find solutions to a variety of issues you may be having.
An issue that is becoming more common — particularly for seniors — is instances of fraud. In fact, the Columbus Dispatch recently reported on a new tax scam involving false tax refunds being deposited into taxpayers’ accounts. The criminals pose as either a debt-collection agency acting on behalf of the IRS, or an IRS agent requesting personal information and money to be transferred.
Personal information is often originally obtained through phishing emails with links or attachments that contain malware, or software intended to affect the security of your computer.
It is important to note that the IRS rarely initiates business over the phone, and you should always be cautious of giving your personal information over the phone or clicking on emails from accounts you do not recognize.
Instances of fraud also happen in the Social Security Administration. In fact, last year, a constituent from Columbus named Tim reached out to my office when he discovered that someone had applied for Social Security benefits under his name, receiving over $10,000 of his benefits. Fortunately, my office was able to help Tim report the incident to Social Security and resolve the issue quickly.
If you suspect fraudulent activity on any of your accounts or have any questions about how to protect your identity, please contact any of my district offices. My caseworkers would be glad to help connect you to resources to help protect your identity and answer questions. You can also find helpful tips and information to keep your identity safe at the IRS website: https://www.irs.gov/identity-theft-fraud-scams/identity-protection.
In addition to fraud cases, my office can help with other issues you may be facing with federal agencies. For example, my office can check on the status of claims at both Social Security and the VA, assist with Social Security and Medicare enrollment, and even expedite a passport renewal.
For more information on the services available through my office, I invite you call my Washington, D.C. office at 202-225-2015, Hilliard office at 614-771-4968, Lancaster office at 740-654-2654, or Wilmington office at 937-283-7049. You can also view frequently asked questions for specific agencies on my website at www.stivers.house.gov.
Steve Stivers is a Member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District. Stivers writes a weekly column published in The Logan Daily News. The views of this column may not necessarily reflect that of the newspaper.