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How to avoid scams related to Social Security during retirement

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2023 | Social Security Disability |

Older adults often rely on Social Security retirement benefits to supplement their savings. The funds from Social Security can augment someone’s standard of living during their retirement years by closing the gap between the funds someone needs to pay basic expenses and how much they actually saved while working. 

Unfortunately, scammers and fraudsters intent on misappropriating the resources of others understand that older adults often receive Social Security and may depend on those benefits. They might try to trick those who receive Social Security or will soon need Social Security retirement benefits by calling them and posing as employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA). 

How do older adults avoid a Social Security scam? 

Know the warning signs 

There are certain things that scam artists do that the SSA generally does not do. The SSA does not typically make unscheduled calls to random recipients. The workers will not threaten someone. They will not claim that someone could end up in jail or tell them that the SSA will suspend their Social Security payments or their Social Security number. The SSA also does not increase monthly payments to recipients if they make a payment to the SSA. 

The goal of Social Security scams will often be either to obtain someone’s personal identifying information for the purpose of identity theft or to gain access to someone’s financial accounts. If someone who claims to be from the SSA calls and asks for someone’s full name, Social Security number, date of birth and address, that should be a red flag. So too would any requests to immediately submit payment over the phone. 

Social Security workers typically will not ask for someone to send payments or provide personal identifying information in full. Particularly if the caller asks for payment via gift card, wire transfer or digital currency, the demand for payment is likely a sign of fraud. Additionally, the SSA doesn’t communicate about crucial or personal issues via email in most cases. The emails sent from the SSA are automated and do not contain private personal information. 

How do people avoid scams? 

Someone who receives a call related to Social Security benefits can ask for the basic information from the caller. They can then end the call and reach out directly to their local SSA office. Doing so can quickly resolve any lingering concerns that someone’s eligibility for benefits or current benefits are at risk. 

Understanding that some fraudsters and scammers intentionally target Social Security recipients may help people better avoid falling victim to unethical and manipulative tricks.