America's Oldest Man Richard Overton's Bank Account Drained After Identity Theft

The oldest living man in America has reportedly had his bank account emptied after being a victim of identity theft, his family has claimed.

Richard Overton, who turned 112 in March and still lives in the same East Austin house he built 72 years ago, saw his account used to purchase savings bonds with Treasury Direct.

GettyImages-187661914 Richard Overton (C), is acknowledged by then U.S. President Barack Obama during a ceremony to honor veterans at the Tomb of the Unknowns on Veterans Day at Arlington National Cemetery on November 11, 2013 in Arlington, Virginia. At 112, Overton is the oldest living American. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

His cousin Volma Overton first discovered the issue when he noticed a discrepancy in the figures after depositing money into the centenarian’s bank account.

After asking the lender to verify the account’s balance, it became clear the only funds left were those Volma had just deposited, which prompted him to realize the problem had gone on for at least a couple of months.

"It's a shock, it hurts, it hurts tremendously,” he was quoted as saying by NBC Austin affiliated KXAN.

"I looked at it—what the hell are these debits?”

"I don't know how they got his social security number and his personal checking account number but those things they have.”

According to the Dallas Morning News, the unidentified thief set up a fake bank account with Overton’s Social Security number and accessed his personal checking account.

He explained that while the bank had been “very helpful” and that he has also contacted Treasury Direct himself, he decided to share the news of the identity theft to help raise awareness of the issue.

"We wanted to put word out about them using his name with stolen ID," he added. "It might help others realize how vulnerable we all are to this.”

Identity theft is a major issue across the world and occurs when personal information, such as a person’s full name or Social Security number are stolen to commit fraud. The identity thief can then use the information to fraudulently apply for credit, file taxes, or get medical services. This in turn, can damage the credit status of the people who have had their details stolen.

Unfortunately for Overton, he is something of a celebrity in Austin and his name and date of birth were regularly mentioned in the media when he became the oldest living American.

Fortunately, his personal account is separate from the the GoFundMe-linked account the family uses to fund round-the-clock home care, which costs almost $15,000 per month.

Since it was set up in December 2016, the page has raised almost $340,000 in donations.

A World War II veteran, Overton served in Hawaii and the South Pacific, before moving to East Austin in 1945 where he has remained ever since.

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