money scam
Yet Another Scam Is Targeting Social Security Recipients

December 26, 2022

By Terri Jo Neff |

As if there are not already enough scams making the rounds, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is reporting that scammers are impersonating the Social Security Administration (SSA) in an effort to get SSA recipients to disclose private information that can be used to defraud the victims.

And the holidays are a good time for families to talk with elderly relatives about the risks, according to AARP’s Legal Counsel for the Elderly.

One thing that makes it difficult for family members or caregivers to learn an elderly person has been contacted by, or even fallen victim to, a scammer is that the victims “come from a generation typically raised to be private and taught to be kind and polite,” according to Amy Nofziger of the AARP Fraud Watch Network.

“They feel compelled to answer the doorbell, provide information when an authority figure requests it and feel uncomfortable hanging up on someone,” Nofziger says.

Scammers are using the names of actual SSA employees to send recipients what appears to be an official letter. The letter invites the recipients to call a toll-free number to activate an increase in their SSA benefits, including claiming a cost-of-living adjustment.

Other targets of the scam have reported receiving an email or text message with a “click here” link to learn more about available SSA benefits. But what the scammers really want is to obtain a recipient’s personal information such as SSN, date of birth, or banking information which can then be used for illegal purposes.

Behavior often engaged in by SSA scammers includes:

  • Threatens to suspend your Social Security number
  • Warns of impending arrest or litigation
  • Pressures you to confirm or provide personal information
  • Promises to increase your SSA benefits for a fee
  • Demands immediate payment
  • Insists on secrecy
  • Threatens to seize your bank account or investments
  • Says you must decide immediately

Anyone who receives a suspicious call, text message, email, or letter can contact AARP’s Fraud Watch at 877-908-3360. Additional information on how to protect against scams is available here.

Meanwhile, contact your local law enforcement agency if you or someone you know already fell victim to a scam by revealing personal information or you were tricked into making a payment for an unreceived service.

Terri Jo Neff is a reporter for AZ Free News. Follow her latest on Twitter, or send her news tips here.

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