It may be no coincidence that this month, with Social Security recipients are beginning to see a big increase in their benefits, is precisely when scammers have dusted off a couple of old Social Security scams.
All across the country, seniors have reported receiving letters from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA), informing them their Social Security number will be suspended within 24 hours.
The reasons for the suspension vary. Residents of Eastern Pennsylvania say the letters cite “fraudulent activity” associated with the number. One version of the letter claims the recipient’s Social Security number is associated with $14 million in fraud.
When WGAL-TV in Lancaster, Pa., examined one of the letters, a few things were immediately obvious. For starters, the letter wasn’t addressed to anyone. Also, the date was in the European format, with the day before the month.
Of course, the biggest tip-off of all is the fact that your Social Security number is never suspended for any reason. The object of the scam is to extract money from the victim, as well as their personal information.
Phone calls and texts
In Montgomery, Ala., seniors have also reported receiving fake communications, purporting to be from SSA. Consumer advocates suggest the motive is to steal money as well as the victim’s Social Security number. Most of the communications are in the form of texts or phone calls.
“We’ve been hearing reports from folks who have been receiving phone calls or text messages purporting to be from the Social Security Administration,” Jamie Harding with AARP Alabama, told WSFA-TV.
Harding believes there is a strong connection between the increase in Social Security benefits that begins this month and the uptick in Social Security scams. The monthly benefit payment is increasing 8.7%, the largest increase in four decades.
“They can look at demographic data around the country, look for pockets of population where it’s more likely that folks are over 65, and then just basically start spraying that area with robocalls,” Harding told the station.