Richard Overton has lived to be 112, and it’s a given that he’s probably experienced plenty in his long lifetime. If you were to ask him about it, he probably wouldn’t have pictured in a million years having to explain to you about the experience of having his bank account drained dry. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened to Mr. Overton, the oldest living U.S. veteran. In fact, in a scummy move that’s one for the records, an identity thief robbed him of his money by accessing his personal information and then opening a fake account, CNN reports.
Volma Overton, Jr., Richard’s cousin, found out this week that someone had robbed the 112-year-old’s bank account. According to Newsweek, Volma stumbled upon the crime when he deposited money and went to check the balance. That’s when he realized that his cousin’s personal account only had the funds he just deposited. The cousin said that he looked at the statement and wondered, “What the h*** are these debits?”
Volma asked the lender to verify the balance of the account, and that’s when he found out that the funds had been gone for months. Whoever accessed Richard’s personal account used his Social Security number and bank account number to buy multiple stocks and bonds using Treasury Direct.
Volma Overton. Jr. wouldn’t say how much of Richard Overton’s money was taken, but he did say it was a “significant” amount. The centenarian’s cousin said that when he found out about the crime it was a “shock,” and that it “just hurts.”
Richard Overton, according to people who know him, is one of the best known and beloved people in his hometown of Austin. What’s more, the 112-year old Texan still lives in the same house that he built over 70 years ago. Volma additionally told reporters that, “He’s a quite visible and [a] well-known person, so if it can happen to him it can happen to anyone.”
The Gerontology Research Group lists Overton as the oldest man in the United States, and he turned 112 on May 6. That same notoriety led to his name and date of birth being announced regularly by news outlets.
The general consensus on social media was that the crime was reprehensible, and many hope that the perpetrator is caught and pays for the crime against the elderly gentleman. Fortunately, the news wasn’t all bad concerning Richard Overton. The personal account that was robbed is separate from a GoFundMe-linked account set up for him that his family uses to pay for his extensive home care, which costs nearly $15,000 monthly. The charity page was set up in December, 2016, and since then, it has raised nearly $340,000.
Military records show that Overton registered for the draft in 1940, and that he enlisted in the Army in 1942. Highlights of Richard Overton’s military service include the distinction of being a member of the “Army’s 188th Aviation Engineer Battalion, an all-black unit that served in the Pacific theater.” Mr. Overton left the Army in 1945 and moved to Austin, where he has lived until now.
President Barack Obama even honored a noteworthy 107-year-old Richard Overton at a 2013 Veterans Day ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.
According to Aging Care, it’s estimated that 9 million people in the U.S. have their identities stolen annually. Senior citizens such as Richard Overton are easy targets for identity thieves because they are vulnerable. In short, seniors are vulnerable because they tend to be lonely, trusting, and isolated socially.