BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A woman's social security benefits were stolen by someone she thinks is a close family friend.
When single mom Kristina Tribbey's Social Security benefits were stolen, she couldn't pay the rent and had little money left to feed her family. But after Calling 4 Action, $1,200 has been returned to her account, and raising her two small children is slightly less daunting.
"I got the money back. I paid my rent, I paid my bills," Tribbey said.
Tribbey receives the benefits due to a developmental disability and so does her son. But those benefits were stolen to buy cell phones through an Internet website and Tribbey believes it was someone she considered a trusted friend.
Tribbey explained a family friend had, "Written down my Social Security Number, my birth date, my full name, and she had copied down my bank card number."
News 4 contacted authorities and the Internet retailer that sold the cell phones to the suspected identity thief. The retailer, SIMPLEXITY, conducted an internal investigation and determined fraud had occurred. The company reversed the charges and returned $1,200 belonging to Tribbey.
Dr. Lizbeth Booth, a psychologist for People, Incorporated, says people with developmental disabilities are more likely to be exploited by family or acquaintances than strangers. Dr. Booth says in cases of exploitation, their agencies tighten the safety net.
"It could be additional oversight. Perhaps someone would work with that mom - or any mom - about how to deal with credit cards, and how to deal with her personal information, how to keep that safe," Dr. Booth said.
Tribbey also has an appointment with a Buffalo Police detective. She was living in a west side apartment when her benefits were taken.
A jury has convicted 16-year-old Dylan Schumaker of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend's young son.
A second arrest has now been made in connection to a suspected meth lab on Saunders Settlement Road in Cambria.
Minor Lk Snow develops & shifts south. Lake Snow increases later Tue north & settles south.
The Erie County Water Authority is warning the public about people posing as water meter service workers.
A City of Buffalo employee who was arrested over the weekend on animal cruelty charges says he did nothing wrong.
A Salamanca man has been charged with DWI after a traffic accident in the Town of Little Valley Saturday.