San Jose Will and Trust Lawyers – Scammers often target individuals receiving benefits through government programs, such as Social Security disability or regular Social Security benefits. Although you might think you know the signs and how to avoid a scammer, you could fall into someone’s trap without realizing it. Targets can lose a lot of money when a scammer catches them off guard and obtains sensitive and personal information.
Social Security disability applicants and recipients, as well as those who collect regular Social Security benefits, must learn how to protect themselves from scammers. With the necessary precautions, you could prevent becoming a victim and losing the Social Security disability benefits that are rightfully yours.
Below are the most common Social Security scams out there.
Phishing involves emails that look like real messages from the Social Security Administration. The subject line might include phrases making it seem like an important notice. It’s a common trick used to reel people in and click on links to fake websites.
When someone clicks on a link in an email like this, the scammer’s goal is to gather personal information. The fake website might direct you to call a number, and the person who answers asks you to provide private details, such as your social security number. They could also request payment information from you to secure your benefits coverage.
Mail fraud is a similar tactic to phishing. However, it’s by physical mail. The scammer sends a fake letter to the recipient on a realistic Social Security Administration letterhead. The envelope could also include forms you need to complete and send back.
Typically, the scammer sends letters notifying their intended target of extra Social Security disability or other benefits they never received. They might ask you to complete the form with your personal information and provide a checking account number to receive the funds.
Fraudulent Phone Calls
It could be a scam whether you receive a threatening or friendly phone call regarding your Social Security benefits. Calls involve real people or machine-automated voices pretending to be a representative at a Social Security office. Spoofing techniques could make the number appear on your caller ID as the Social Security Administration.
Some scammers are savvy and know the tricks to put their targets at ease. They might identify themselves with the name of a real person working as a Social Security official. They could offer details only an official would know and appear casual about the conversation they’re having with you.
Once you let your guard down, they might offer additional services in exchange for a fee. However, the Social Security Administration never charges for its services. Or the scammer could request confidential information and threaten jail or legal action if you don’t comply.
How to Report Suspicious Activity
If you received suspicious mail, email, or a phone call and believe you’re dealing with a scammer, cease all communication. You should avoid additional conversations and don’t give them money or personal information.
You can report the scam to the Social Security Administration law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General.
If you are uncertain whether the contact you received is legitimate or a scam, you can also call (800) 772-1213 or (800) 325-0778 (TTY) to confirm whether a call or mail you received is real and from the Social Security office.
Older adults are vulnerable to scams involving their finances. If you believe you have been the victim of a Social Security scammer, contact our San Jose Will and Trust Lawyers or one of our other firms located throughout the state of California at (800) 244-8814 to learn what we can do to help.