Scammers want your information. They have all kinds of creative ways for getting your account numbers, address, and other personal information. Once they have it, they steal your identity. As San Fernando Valley elder law attorneys, we’ve seen it all too often.
One common scam involves calling unsuspecting seniors and asking them to verify their Social Security number. Here’s the script:
- A call comes in from someone posing as a Social Security Administration (SSA) employee.
- The scammer tells the victim that they are due a cost-of-living adjustment increase in their Social Security benefit.
- The scammer tries to get the victim to “verify” their Social Security number, their name, their birth date, their parent’s names, and other personal information.
- If the scammer is successful, they use the information to make changes to the victim’s direct deposit, address, and telephone information within the Social Security Administration system.
The Social Security Administration rarely calls and will never send an email to verify anything. They will, in most cases, send you a letter. If you are due cost-of-living or any other increase, you will get them automatically.
To protect yourself, the number one recommendation is to not accept phone calls from phone numbers that you don’t recognize. Here are a few other safeguards recommended by the AARP:
1) Never provide information such as your Social Security number or bank account numbers to unknown people over the phone or internet unless you are certain who is receiving it.
2) If you have questions about any SSA communication – a call, letter, email, or text – contact your local Social Security office or 1-800-772-1213.
3) Report suspicious calls to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.
This latest scam is insidious. The thieves making these phone calls are very convincing. Please be sure to stay alert and warn your elderly friends and family members. If you still need guidance, feel free to contact our San Fernando elder law attorneys at 818-334-2805.