3 Common Social Security Scams You Need to Avoid
You depend on your Social Security income. The last thing you need is for a scammer to steal your personal information. This and other Social Security scams can cost you a lot of money, time, and peace. Unfortunately, as technology evolves, scammers have more ways to reach you. This means you have to work that much harder to avoid them. Fortunately, with the right information, you can learn to spot their tricks.
While everyone’s situation is different, many people rely on Social Security as an essential form of income, especially those who are disabled and can’t work. Of the elderly Social Security beneficiaries, at least 90% of their income, of which 45% are individuals and 21% are married couples, comes from SSA benefits. Below are three social security scams to watch out for when receiving inquiries that you think are from SSA.
1. Scammers Will Look for Ways to Request Sensitive Information
The most common Social Security scam involves the scammer posing as an employee of the Social Security Administration (SSA.) You might receive a phone call, email, or even a text message asking for sensitive information.
The SSA advises that they generally only make phone calls about a claim. They will not send you emails with documents that have your personally identifiable information on them.
2. Scammers Will File for Benefits and Receive Them for You
One particularly aggressive tactic involves people close to you that might be able to file on your behalf. Whether they act as a caretaker or commit identity theft, these scammers take advantage of people who might not understand the benefits process.
This is also the plan for many scammers that try to steal your information. Some of them might use your information to gain credit, while others will attempt to divert your benefits
3. Scammers Will Ask for Payment Through Alternate Sources
If you owe money to the SSA, you will receive official documentation from the organization. This will let you know how to make your payments. To clarify, they don’t accept gift cards, prepaid cards, wire transfers, or cryptocurrency.
Anyone who asks for payment in one of these forms and claims they are with the SSA is attempting to scam you. Therefore, it’s a good idea to call the SSA to verify any requests for payment.
Preventative Tips for Protecting Yourself from Social Security Scams
The good news is that you can prevent yourself from becoming a victim. Which in turn, can save you the time and resources that a scam will cost. Here are a few things you can do to avoid scammers:
- Stay informed: Check with the SSA and other government organizations that track and report on Social Security scams.
- Ask questions: If you do receive a phone call or email, ask questions and try to establish valid contact information to verify any requests.
- Monitor credit: To watch for identity theft, credit monitoring can clue you into a situation where your benefits might be at risk.
If you owe the SSA money or have an open claim, you should expect contact. Of course, it’s wise to double-check the contact information.
What to Do if You Think Someone is Trying to Scam You
Keep track of and report any attempts that scammers make to communicate with you. If you receive a phone call that seems suspicious, hang up. Not to mention, you can also call the Social Security Administration and ask them to verify the phone call.