The summer is winding down and scam artists are running rampant. There’s a new scam out targeting Social Security recipients and if you or anyone you know receives a Social Security check you need to be extra cautious.
Scam artists are always looking for ways to gain access to your valuable information. Your address, mother’s maiden name, and the holy grail of all personal information: your Social Security Number, are all prized possessions. With this information, scam artists are able to call the real Social Security Administration and change the direct deposit bank information. Suddenly, victims stop receiving Social Security checks because the money is being deposited into the thieve’s bank account.
What’s the latest Social Security Scam?
In the latest scam, thieves are calling Social Security recipients and promising them an increase in benefits if they verify their information. According to the U.S. Office of the Inspector General:
Scam artists target Social Security recipients and pretend to be employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA). Thieves tell victims they are “due for a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment increase in benefit.” Victims just need to verify personal information including SSN, name, date of birth, parents’ name, etc. over the phone. Then, with this information in hand, scam artists contact the official Social Security Administration. Next, they change the victim’s direct deposit banking information to reroute Social Security checks to the scammer’s bank.
Signs this is a scam
It can be hard to know what is real and what is a scam these days. With modern technology making it easier than ever for hackers to access your personal information it is easy to become a target.
The Social Security Administration will (Rarely) Call You
One tell-tale sign that this is a scam is the fact that these scam artists are calling you and asking you to verify your information over the phone. As with most government entities, the SSA will rarely call you over the phone. The SSA will mail you a letter requesting action. They will only occasionally call you over the phone after they have sent you that letter.
If the SSA does, in fact, call you they will not ask you to verify your information over the phone. They may ask you to verify information if you call them on their toll-free phone number 1 (800) 772-1213 but they will not contact you to verify your information over the phone.
If you’re a Victim
If you were targeted by these scam artists but did not provide them with your personal information, file a report with the Office of the Inspector General. Make sure to keep your guard up. If you do notice anything suspicious with any of your Social Security checks or bank accounts, contact your local authorities.
If You’re a Victim of this Scam
The first thing you should do is file a report with the Office of the Inspector General. Next, contact the SSA and inform them of what happened. You will want to make sure scammers haven’t changed your bank account and contact information. If they have you will need to change that immediately. Once thieves were able to have one or many checks deposited into their own bank accounts it is highly unlikely you will ever see that money again.