AARP says the Social Security Administration (SSA) is reporting a new type of retirement scam that involves imposters calling individuals and posing as Social Security officials. The caller “pretends” there is a problem with their accounts and demand money or sensitive data, and says things such as that you owe a fine or fee, and threaten to have you arrested if you don’t pay immediately in the form of cash or prepaid debit cards.
The Social Security Administration says they received 450,000 imposter-related complaints in 2019, and the Federal Trade Commission reports that imposter-related Social Security scams resulted in losses of around $19 million between April 2018 and March 2019.
If you receive a call like this, hang up! Report details of the call to our Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov. Share this information with your friends and family.
Motley Fool offers suggestions to protect yourself from social security retirement scams and recommends that if you think you are the victim of a scam or receive a suspicious phone call or email, contact the Office of the Inspector General to report it.
1. Familiarize yourself with the Social Security Administration’s policies.
2. The Social Security Administration rarely contacts people by phone.
You’ll typically receive a letter in the mail if there is a problem that needs your attention. You’ll never be asked for your Social Security number or any other personally identifiable information over the phone or in an email, and you’ll also never be asked to provide payment in the form of gift cards, cash, prepaid debit cards, or wire transfers. The Social Security Administration will also never threaten you with arrest or legal action over the failure to pay a fine or fee.
3. If you receive a phone call that sounds suspicious, hang up.
Call the Social Security Administration’s official phone number (1-800-772-1213) and ask about the call you just received. Some scammers are able to “spoof” the caller ID so that it appears to be the Social Security Administration calling, so don’t automatically assume that the phone call is legitimate based on what the caller ID says.
An experienced Illinois elder law attorney can explain applicable laws and advise you on the best options to protect the interests of senior citizens. Contact the Estate & Probate Legal Group at 630-800-0112.