Phone scam targets 9/11 survivors, first responders

Posted: Updated:
WOODBURY -

A phone scam is targeting survivors and first responders of the Sept. 11 terror attack in Manhattan.

Steve Ferraro, of Merrick, says he was stunned after receiving a strange phone call from someone claiming to be from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. The law enforcement official suffers from an upper respiratory illness related to his time spent at Ground Zero.

Ferraro says the caller asked for his personal information, including his address and Social Security number.

It turns out that Ferraro was the intended victim of a scam -- and he's not alone. Sept. 11 first responder advocate John Feal, of the FealGood Foundation, says he's received more than 100 reports of similar calls.

In the scam, the caller claims to be with the Victim Compensation Fund, tells the target that they may be entitled to money and asks for personal information to file a claim. It's a phishing scheme meant to steal the target's identity.

"This is an absolute disgrace," says U.S. Rep. Peter King, who, along with two other New York-area representatives, is now asking the Federal Trade Commission to conduct an investigation into the calls. For now, he says 9/11 first responders should be wary if they receive unexpected calls.

"No government agency, no official agency is going to call them over the phone to ask for information," King says.

It's unclear where the calls are coming from or if they're even originating from within the United States. Anyone who believes they have received a scam call can reach out to the Victim Compensation Fund helpline at 1-855-885-1555.

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