Published: Sep 28, 2012 5:31 PM EDT
Updated: Sep 28, 2012 5:57 PM EDT

FORT MYERS, Fla. - In a crime that's growing across the nation, thieves are targeting the elderly and disabled by re-routing social security direct deposits.

Two such cases have been recorded in Lee county.

Investigators say identity thieves are fraudulently rerouting Social Security benefits to their own bank accounts and prepaid debit cards.

The scam is increasing at the same time the Social Security Administration is pushing beneficiaries toward online use and direct deposit.

The inspector general's office says they receive calls regarding 'questionable' changes to direct deposit accounts at a rate of 50 times per week.

Authorities say one way to protect yourself from the crime is to notify the Administration that no changes can be made to your account unless you show up in person with ID.