3 common requests and how to report them

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In 2021, an average of 65 million Americans receive monthly social security checks, totaling more than $ 1,000 billion disbursed during the year. It’s no surprise that scammers try almost everything – fake calls, texts, emails, and letters – to get the personal information of Social Security recipients. Last year, more than 718,000 reports of Social Security-related phone scams were made, adding nearly $ 45 million in losses, CNBC reported.

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Here are some of the most frequently reported scams, as well as how to report them yourself.

Phony calls

More and more fraudsters are calling Social Security recipients pretending to be government officials, claiming that there is identity theft or that there is a problem with their Social Security number, account or his advantages. These calls are often threatening and may demand payment or be the subject of arrest or legal action.

However, fake calls can also sound friendly and may offer to provide service. These may include offers to enroll a family member in the social security program or a statement of contributions and expected future income. These are attempts to extract as much information from you as possible.

If there is a problem, the Social Security Administration will usually send you a letter and only call you if you have requested an appeal. According to the SSA, “Social Security will not threaten you, ask you for personal information, or require instant payment. Social Security does not accept payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, Internet currency, or postal mail. Criminals use these forms of payment because they are difficult to trace.

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Phishing emails

Another method is to send emails that appear to be from SSA. Phishing is an attempt to trick you into disclosing your personal information. Scammers can try to steal passwords, account numbers, or your Social Security number. With this information, they can access your email, bank, or other accounts.

These emails may have the agency seal and similar font style and may make requests or threats. Legitimate SSA emails will never ask for your personal information and will never threaten you.

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Mail fraud

Although most scams are done online, criminals can still try direct mail scams. These are usually sent to the elderly. The letters can offer an additional Social Security check in exchange for personal information and application fees, according to Investopedia. SSA will never ask for your personal information, nor will it ever ask for money.

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How to Report Social Security Scams

If you believe you have been the victim of a Social Security scam or wish to report any attempts, you can call the Office of Inspector General’s hotline (1-800-269-0271) from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET on Monday. to Friday, excluding federal holidays. You can also submit a fraud report through the OIG website. In addition, the filing of a complaint through the Federal Trade Commission website is also an option.

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Last updated: October 26, 2021

This article originally appeared on GOBankingRates.com: Social Security scams: 3 common requests and how to report them

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