Social Security scams are, unfortunately, a common occurrence and are on the rise, particularly with the increasing use of technology and digital communication. These scams can be particularly harmful, as they often target vulnerable populations such as the elderly or individuals with disabilities.
Here are some of the common Social Security scams happening now and how to protect yourself from falling victim to them.
#1 Social Security Imposter Scam
This scam involves a caller who claims to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The caller advises the victim that their Social Security number has been suspended or compromised. Afterward, the caller asks for the victim’s social security number for verification. The SSA will never call you to threaten your benefits or ask for personal information over the phone.
How to protect yourself: If you receive a call like this, end the call and get in touch with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at ftc.gov/complaint.
#2 Social Security Disability Scam
This scam targets individuals who have applied for disability benefits through the Social Security Administration. In exchange for a fee, the scammer may claim to be a representative of a law firm or disability advocacy group. The Social Security Administration never asks for money to expedite disability claims.
How to protect yourself: Be wary of any unsolicited offers for help with your disability claim, and only work with reputable attorneys or advocacy groups.
# 3 Social Security Card Replacement Scam
This scam involves a caller who claims to be from the SSA. The caller advises the victim that their Social Security card needs to be replaced. To complete the replacement, the caller asks for personal information such as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and bank account numbers. In reality, the SSA does not charge for replacement cards and will never ask for personal information over the phone.
How to protect yourself: If you need a replacement Social Security card, visit the SSA’s website or your local SSA office to request one.
#4 Social Security Direct Deposit Scam
This scam involves a caller who claims to be from the SSA. The caller tells the victim that their direct deposit information needs to be updated. The caller then asks the victim to provide their name, address, Social Security number, date of birth, and bank account information to update their direct deposit. The SSA will never call you to update your direct deposit information over the phone.
How to protect yourself: If you need to update your direct deposit information, visit the SSA’s website or your local SSA office to make the update.
#5 Social Security Overpayment Scam
In this scam, the victim is told they have been overpaid in Social Security benefits. The caller demands the excess immediately; failure to pay will result in legal action. To process the repayment, the caller requests the victim’s date of birth, full name, Social Security number, and bank account information. The SSA will never call you to demand immediate payment or threaten legal action.
How to protect yourself: If you receive a call like this, do not provide any personal information and hang up. Contact the SSA directly to verify the validity of the claim.
#6 Social Security phishing scams
These scams typically involve an email that appears to be from the Social Security Administration, asking you to provide personal information or click on a link. The link may lead to a fake website resembling the SSA’s official site. The truth is that the site is fake, and the intention is to steal your information.
How to protect yourself: Be cautious of any unsolicited emails or links related to Social Security. Never provide personal information unless you are certain the request is legitimate. If you’re unsure, contact the SSA directly to verify the request.
#7 Social Security survivor benefits scams
This scam targets family members of deceased individuals who were receiving Social Security benefits. The scammer may contact the survivor and claim that they should be receiving additional benefits or a lump-sum payment. The caller then states they need personal information or pay a fee to help them.
How to protect yourself: Be wary of any unsolicited offers related to survivor benefits, and only work with reputable attorneys or organizations. You can contact the SSA directly to verify the validity of any claims.
#8 Social Security investment scams
These scams may involve an investment opportunity that claims to be backed by Social Security or promises high returns. No such thing exists as a “Social Security investment,” and the SSA does not endorse any investment products or services.
How to protect yourself: Be wary of any investment opportunities that claim to be related to Social Security, and only work with reputable financial advisors or firms.
In general, it’s important to be vigilant and cautious when it comes to Social Security scams. If a caller is asking for personal information or requires a fee, verify the caller’s information before taking any action. You can prevent Social Security scams by staying informed and aware.
Taking protective measures is essential in light of the numerous Social Security scams. The SSA will never contact you by phone to threaten your benefits or request personal information. If a call seems suspicious, contact the FTC. Lastly, if you have questions regarding your Social Security benefits or need to make changes to your account, you should contact the official SSA website or go to your local SSA office. Following these precautions may prevent you from falling prey to Social Security scams and safeguard your benefits. It is also crucial to inform friends and family members about these frauds. If we work together, we can prevent these frauds from harming individuals who rely on Social Security payments.