(HorizonPost.com) – In the first six months of FY2022, over 55,000 people reported that they were scammed by a caller claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA), the Journal-Courier reported.
According to the SSA Office of the Inspector General, reports of Social Security scams increased by 61.7 percent in the first two quarters of FY2022, with the most common scam being callers claiming to be from the SSA and asking for personal information or even money.
There are various tactics these callers use to scam people on Social Security.
Targets are told that their Social Security number has been suspended and they have to provide their personal information to “reactive” it.
However, the SSA does not “suspend” Social Security numbers.
In another tactic, the targets are told that their Social Security benefits have been suspended. The scammer will then ask for their Social Security number to verify their identity and instruct them to pay a fee to have their benefits reactivated.
However, the SSA never calls to ask for a Social Security number, nor does it charge you to correct a problem with Social Security benefits.
Scammers may also call to inform Social Security beneficiaries that they are eligible for a cost-of-living increase but first, they must pay an application fee.
However, the Social Security Administration’s cost-of-living benefit adjustments happen automatically without an application.
Finally, a scammer may call those receiving Social Security to inform them that there has been an overpayment and they must pay it back. They may also say that a beneficiary has incurred a penalty that must be paid. The scammer will warn the target that their benefits will be suspended or even that they could face jail if they do not pony up the money immediately.
Scammers generally request that payments be made through cryptocurrency, wire transfers, prepaid debit cards, gift cards, or even by mailing cash – none of which the SSA accepts.
The Social Security Administration generally contacts beneficiaries by mail, rarely, if ever, by telephone.
The best way to protect yourself against scammers is to never, ever, give out personal information on the phone or via an email request.
Check out the other helpful tips to avoid becoming a victim of scammers HERE.
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