Anyone could be a victim of a scam, young or old. Unfortunately, Social Security scams are quite common. Recent scams include fraudulent misrepresentations like people posing as employees of the Social Security Administration asking for personal information such as name, social security number and banking information. The scammers say that the information is required in order to send rebates or other funds and that the computers have lost all the personal information. These scam artists often contact potential victims on the phone or even in person. It is important to remember that Social Security employees will never make an in-person appearance without prior notice. If someone claims to be from the SSA or from your local Social Security office, contact the SSA or local office to verify the legitimacy of that claim.
Social Security scams on the Internet
Social Security scams also occur over the Internet. Fraudulent emails are designed to look like they are from the SSA and ask people to update personal information on websites that look like Social Security’s website. These emails try to create credibility by discussing cost-of-living adjustments. Scam artists will also inform people that if they file a new income tax return, they can get up to $3,000 on their return since there were no increase s in Social Security cost-of-living adjustments in the past few years. But the reality is that it will cost $30 to file a new tax return and there will be no refund.
Some scams start by asking for a filing fee for additional benefits, but the SSA does not charge any filing fees A Pittsburgh newspaper has also reported a scam where senior citizens received calls saying that they needed to renew their Social Security cards by giving banking information and Social Security numbers.
Avoiding Social Security scams
In order to avoid these scams, remember that Social Security will never ask for personal information through emails. Instead of a response, one should call the local Pennsylvania Social Security office or the SSA to verify if any personal information is required. Also, it’s important to always report suspected scams to the Office of the Inspector General. If a thief was able to get personal information, especially financial information, immediately notify the bank and request that the credit bureaus put a fraud alert or a “freeze” on those accounts.
The purpose of these attempts is to steal identities or money from unsuspecting individuals. Do not respond to questionable solicitations to gain Social Security or Social Security Disability benefits. An experienced Social Security Disability attorney can help file claims and Social Security Disability appeals.