Social Security Payment Increase Attracts Scammers

 

Last updated 3/2/2023 at 6:30pm | View PDF

Each year, the Social Security Administration (SSA) approves a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of Social Security benefits and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). Due to inflation, payments will increase by 8.7% this year. It's a significant increase – the highest COLA approved in more than 40 years – and scammers are taking advantage.

If you or a loved one receive Social Security benefits, stay alert to the signs of a scam.

Scammers may contact you by phone, text or email. A phony "Social Security Administration representative" may claim that you must apply for your cost-of-living increase. They might ask you to visit a website, send information via text or email, or speak with them on the phone to get the benefit.

The scammer will ask you to verify your identity by sharing personal details, such as your full name, address or Social Security number. They may even ask for your bank account information, claiming that the extra money will be deposited directly into your account.

If you give your information to the person in question, they will have gained access to your most sensitive personal information, making you susceptible to identity theft. If you give up your banking information, they may even be able to gain access to your money.

The SSA's COLA is automatic. You don't need to do anything to receive the increase in benefits. If someone tells you otherwise, you're likely dealing with a scammer.

According to SSA, "If there is a problem with your Social Security number, we will mail you a letter. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us." A call, text or email from "an SSA agent" out of the blue is a red flag.

Don't give in to threats. SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action. They will never suspend your Social Security number or demand payment from you. They will never ask for personal information or banking details to give you an increase in benefits. If someone demands these things or threatens you over the phone, they are not with SSA.

 

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