Connecticut’s two United States senators are calling on the Federal Trade Commission and the Federal Communications Commission to investigate reports of people posing as Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund staffers to get personal information from first responders and survivors.
U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, as well as U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and U.S. Senator Corey Booker (D-N.J.), are asking for the investigation.
The Victim Compensation Fund, or VCF, was set up to help and compensate the victims, survivors and responders and the senators said 97 survivors and responders in Connecticut have received compensation from it.
“As Senators from Connecticut and New Jersey, we represent constituents that were deeply and forever affected by the tragic attacks on September 11, 2001. In Connecticut and New Jersey, 97 and 1,182 survivors and responders of 9/11, respectively have received compensation through the fund. The VCF, established shortly after 9/11 to aid and compensate the victims, survivors, and responders, was reactivated in 2011 and reauthorized by Congress again in 2015. It is paramount that this population of individuals is protected from these unconscionable fraudsters seeking to inflict yet more harm on those who have already suffered so much,” the letter from the senators says.
Nationwide, more than 18,000 claimants have received awards from the fund totaling over $3.3 billion.
“This cruel and illegal scam, which preys upon the victims of 9/11, adds to the already significant emotional and financial toll on 9/11 survivors and responders. It is critical that the FTC and FCC conduct a swift, aggressive investigation and bring these callous lawbreakers to justice for their despicable acts,” the senators wrote in their letter.
A message on the VCF’s website says the callers, whose identities are not known, are using spoofed numbers with New York area codes and ask questions about the status of an individual’s claim, then they state that the individual might be entitled to money and might ask for personal information in order to mail a claim package or file a claim on the individuals’ behalf.
The senators are asking for a response by May 8.