Ugh, Another Social Security Scam You May Want to Tell Loved Ones About
Social Security recipients seem to be particularly vulnerable to scams, so it shouldn’t surprise you that the Social Security Administration is warning recipients about a third scam in the past few months.
In the newest scam, the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration is warning people to protect their personal information.
The inspector general’s office says the scammers call the victims — usually from a phone number with a 323 area code — and promise them a 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment increase in their Social Security benefits.
The scammer will then ask the victim to confirm personal information including their name, birthdate, Social Security number and parents’ names. Once the scammer has that, they can make changes to the victim’s direct deposit information, telephone number and address.
The scammer can also use that information to open credit cards in the victim’s name.
Here’s How the Other Scams Worked
As you warn your family and friends about this latest scam, don’t forget the other Social Security scams some criminals might still try to pull off.
Back in March, scammers pretended to be employees of the Office of the Inspector General and tricked people into thinking their Social Security benefits had been suspended and that they had a warrant out for their arrest. The scammers would convince the victims to buy hundreds of dollars’ worth of gift cards or prepaid banking cards and send them the card details to resolve the fake warrants.
In June, the scammers allegedly moved on to trying to collect the personal information from a group of former clients of Kentucky disability attorney Eric C. Conn. In that scam, authorities say victims were promised a $9,000 payout from a compensation fund if they sent a $200 fee.
What to Do if You Get a Call
There are circumstances when an employee from the Office of the Inspector General might call you. There are even circumstances when an employee will ask to verify your personal information, but you will likely be expecting that call.
If you ever get an unexpected call that you find suspicious, it’s always best to take extra care. Hang up and call your local Social Security office to confirm the validity of the call. The same goes for unexpected text messages, emails or letters you receive.
You can also call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 800-772-1213 between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
To report a possible scam, you can report it online or call the Office of the Investigator General at 800-269-0271.
Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder.