Scams aiming at your finances are nothing new. The latest Social Security scam, however, could cause you quite a bit of trouble if you catch yourself falling for it. Here’s everything you need to know and how to identify a scam to avoid getting burned.
Scams Targeting Seniors
Many times, these scams target senior citizens or people who may otherwise be fooled by their tactics. In a lot of instances, seniors aren’t always as mentally aware as they once were, which makes them more susceptible to these kinds of crimes.
The Latest Social Security Scam
Those looking to scam seniors have been calling and claiming to be the Social Security Administration (SSA). When the person answers, they are threatened by the scammer with suspended benefits if they don’t provide personally-identifying information.
Others are calling saying that there has been criminal activity linked to your Social Security number. As a result, you are told you must resolve it or your benefits will be put at risk. In some cases, you may be asked for your social so that the SSA can sort out some issue with your account.
Don’t fall for it! If you are collecting Social Security, it is important to know the signs of a scam.
How to Identify a Scam
Always avoid giving out personally-identifying information over the phone. You should also know the SSA will never call and threaten to suspend your benefits. Occasionally, they may call you asking for information. Unfortunately, scammers can call from numbers that appear to be the SSA. If you’re unsure, hang up, and call the SSA back immediately. Call (800) 772-1213 to speak to an agent to legitimize the call.
If you suspect someone is trying to scam you, hang up immediately and report it. Visit the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) website for information about reporting scams.
If You’ve Been a Victim
Maybe you’re reading this thinking to yourself, “Oh no, I’ve already given my Social Security number out to a scammer.” If that’s the case, you’ll need to do a few things quickly to minimize any damage to your life and finances.
- Contact the FTC. Officials will help guide you through what you should do next.
- Then you’ll want to contact the SSA. If someone has your social, they’ll be able to impact your benefits. Explain you think they may be at risk. The SSA agent you speak with will be able to advise you in your next steps. In some cases, this may lead to you being issued a new Social Security number.
- Freeze your credit. This way, the scammer won’t be able to open fake accounts in your name and go into debt.
- Keep a close eye on your accounts and credit score. Check it every month or so to be sure there hasn’t been anything suspicious going on.
The best way to avoid getting scammed altogether is not letting it happen. Anyone calling you claiming to be the SSA is lying. If you think about it that way, you won’t fall victim to this scam. Just be sure to call the SSA back and be sure!
Readers, have you heard anything about this scam?