Seniors Targeted by Sophisticated Social Security Scams

(NationalUSNews.com) — Scam phone calls are so normal now that many younger people don’t answer their phones at all. People who came of age before cell phones and texting are more inclined to pick up, though. One very common scam is the Social Security Scam, where the caller pretends to be from the offices of Social Security and then convinces their victim to transfer money to them or give them sensitive personal information such as their social security number.

There are four tactics that are usually deployed. If they tell you that your Social Security number is suspended, you should hang up. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not suspend social security numbers. They may also tell you that your benefits are suspended, and they need you to tell them the number or send them money to reactivate them. This is also not something the SSA does.

They may also tell seniors that they can increase their benefits to reflect cost of living increases for a fee. This is not true, as the SSA already applies cost-of-living adjustments automatically. Finally, they may just ask for money in the form of cryptocurrency, wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or by just mailing cash. They claim their target owes money to the SSA and threaten to cut off their benefits or even have them arrested. This is also not something the SSA does, and they don’t even accept any of those forms of payment.

While, for the most part, it is up to each individual to protect themselves against scams, it can be heartbreaking when it happens to your older family members, often leaving them in dire straits. As a preventative measure, it could be beneficial to discuss these common scams with the older people you know and watch for warning signs that they may have already been targeted. Some seniors are embarrassed that they were fooled and may try to hide it, which can make it harder to help them. If fraud has already occurred, you can and should report it to the authorities.

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