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  • Geebo 8:00 am on June 8, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , social security,   

    Scam Round Up: Money recovered in Social Security scam and more 

    By Greg Collier

    We’re starting off with a pretty grim scam today. We’ve posted about it before, but it seems to be becoming more common, so we thought we’d remind our readers about it. We’re talking about the funeral home scam. Scammers have been going through obituaries and targeting the families of the recently deceased. As a family is in the process of grieving, scammers will call them, posing as whatever funeral home the family is using. The scammers will claim the family needs to make an additional payment before their loved one could be interred.

    Scammers are constantly looking for victims who may be emotionally vulnerable, and what’s more emotional than the passing of a loved one. If you receive a phone call like this, please keep in mind that in most instances, financial arrangements are always handled at the funeral home itself. Hang up on the call, and call the funeral home directly to verify if there are any issues.

    In our second scam story, the summer months can bring about their own scams. One of those is the car wrapping scam. This is when scammers will offer to pay you for wrapping your car with advertisements. In the majority of cases, this is just an avenue for scammers to send their victims a fake check. The victim will be sent a check and told to deposit in their bank account. Then they’re told to use that money to pay the car wrap vendor through apps like Venmo or Cash App before the victim’s bank discovers the check is fraudulent. This leaves the victim on the hook to their bank for the full amount of the check and any associated fees.

    Lastly, a woman from Louisiana was one of the lucky ones recently as authorities were able to recover over $100,000 from a Social Security scam. The woman received a call from who she thought was the Social Security Administration. The news report didn’t say what the scammers were asking payment for, but typically in this scam, the scammers threaten the victim by claiming the victim’s benefits will be cut off if they don’t make the payment.

    The victim wired $146,000 to the scammers’ bank account, but police were able to work with the bank to recover $122,000 of the woman’s money. However, this is the exception and not the rule. In many scams that involve banks, the banks see the transactions as legitimate since they were made by the customer, even if it was done under duress.

    If you receive a call from the SSA, the odds are that caller is a scammer. Hang up the phone, then call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213 and let them know what the caller said. If there really is an issue, the SSA will contact you by mail first.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social security   

    New Social Security scam uses old form of contact 

    New Social Security scam uses old form of contact

    By Greg Collier

    For a few years now, there have been scams that threaten to suspend a victim’s Social Security number. In one of the more common instances of these scams, scammers will call their victims, posing as either law enforcement or the Social Security Administration. Typically, the scammers will their victims that their Social Security number was used in the commission of a crime. The scammers will often tell their victims that a car was rented near the Southern Border using their Social Security number and that drugs were found in the car. If the victims don’t pay an immediate fine, their Social Security number will be suspended and they could face possible prosecution.

    Before we get to the new version of this scam, we’d like to reassure our readers that none of these things can happen. A Social Security number cannot be suspended, and neither the police nor the SSA will ever call you to threaten you with arrest.

    As we said, typically this scam is done over the phone. However, a new version of this scam is using an older method of communication that makes the scam appear more legitimate. People have recently reported receiving letters in the mail that threaten them with the suspension of their Social Security number. The letters claim to be from the SSA and threaten the recipient with suspension in 24 hours. The letters go on to say that due to criminal activity in Texas, the victim’s Social Security number is involved in a multimillion dollar fraud. The letter then directs the recipient to call a toll-free number to settle matters.

    According to news reports, the letters contain clues that it’s a scam. For example, the letters aren’t addressed to anyone by name. The letters also use the European date format, which uses the date first and then the month. That’s not even taking into account that how can a number be suspended in 24 hours if the sender has no idea when the letter will get there?

    While the SSA does its legitimate communications through the mail, any letter that claims to be from them that comes off as threatening should be questioned. No recipient should ever call the phone number in the letter, as it will go to a scammer looking to steal the victim’s money and identity. Instead, call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 26, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: child identity theft, , , , social security   

    Start protecting your kids’ identities now! 

    By Greg Collier

    As a child, my friends and I would fill out credit card applications, thinking we found a way to get free money. This was before identity theft became such a worldwide problem and credit card applications were given out at stores and restaurants. We’d usually give up on the process when it came to the questions about employment and salary. Not that banks were in the habit of extending credit to ten-year-olds back then. Today, it’s different, however. With enough of the right information, even if the person is a child, lines of credit can be opened in their name.

    The Better Business Bureau has issued a warning to parents on how to be vigilant in protecting their children’s identities. Children have become targets of identity theft within the past several years. That’s because identity thieves enjoy the fact that children are basically a clean slate when it comes to credit. Plus, parents rarely, if ever, check their children’s credit reports.

    Scammers often get their information about a child through social media. Once scammers find a target, not only will they go over every post of parents’ social media accounts, but they’ll wait until more information is posted if needed. Meanwhile, children’s Social Security numbers are often taken in various scams where the scammers pose as people or organizations of authority who may legitimately need your child’s social. For example, the scammers may pose as a health insurance company who claim they need your child’s social to pay a claim.

    However, there are ways to protect your children from identity thieves. The BBB recommends checking your child’s credit report as soon as they turn 16, then freezing their credit. You will need to send documentation that proves you’re a parent or guardian, so keep that information on hand. However, when not in use, those documents should be kept in a secure location like a safe or safe deposit box. Also, not only should you limit what you share on social media about your children, but you should talk to your children as well about what they share.

    Lastly, if you start receiving things like credit card applications or collection notices addressed to your children, their identity may have already been compromised.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on December 16, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , social security,   

    A good change in Social Security brings out the scammers 

    A good change in Social Security brings out the scammers

    By Greg Collier

    The most impersonated government agencies are the IRS, Social Security, and Medicare. Scammers often use these three offices to intimidate their victims into doing what they want. I mean, who wants to be contacted by the IRS? They typically use the other two offices to intimidate older Americans or the disabled into thinking they’re either going to lose their benefits, or they make benefit promises that are better than what the government is offering. Whenever the law or policy changes happen within one of these offices, the scammers are right on top of it, looking to use it to take advantage of their victims.

    At the end of this year, millions of Social Security beneficiaries will be receiving an almost 9% cost of living increase in their benefits. If a beneficiary is eligible for this increase, there is nothing they have to do. They will receive it automatically. Scammers will contact their victims posing as the SSA. They’ll tell their victims they need their personal information, a payment, or both to receive the increase. This could lead to the victim’s identity being stolen, or the loss of hundreds if not thousands of dollars.

    To better protect yourself or someone you know from this scam, the best thing to do is keep in mind that government agencies like this will not reach out to citizens first. Unless you already have an ongoing matter with Social Security, they will not just call someone out of the blue. Most government agencies will contact someone by postal mail if they need to be notified. Also, no one should have to give their personal information to the SSA, as they should already have it if you’re a beneficiary. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from the SSA, hang up and contact the SSA at 1-800-772-1213, or their contact page at SSA.gov.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 22, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , social security, t-shirt scam,   

    Scam Round Up: New Social Security scam and more 

    Scam Round Up: New Social Security scam and more

    By Greg Collier

    This week in the Scam Round Up, we’re bringing you a story with a happy ending, for once, and a whole bunch of scams.


    Our happy ending story is one that starts out with a Philadelphia-area man who fell for the grandparent scam. He was led to believe his son was in jail on a DUI and needed $25,000 for bail. The scammers enlisted the service of a Lyft driver who was supposed to take the $25,000 to the scammers. The driver felt like something was up and tried to confirm the identity of the so-called attorney who was supposed to get the money. When the attorney wouldn’t provide identification to the Lyft driver, the driver took the money to police, who were able to return the money to the victim.

    Please keep in mind, if someone says they’re sending a rideshare or courier to your home to pick up money for some kind of emergency, the odds are pretty good they’re trying to scam you. If a relative or loved one claims to be in jail, attempt to contact them first before sending any money. More than likely, you’ll find out they’re ok.


    Just because Amazon’s Prime Day is over, that doesn’t mean Amazon scams will stop. A sheriff’s office just outside of Richmond, Virginia, is warning residents about an Amazon phone scam taking place there. In this scam, the victims receive a call from someone claiming to be with Amazon. The caller will say there are suspicious charges on the victim’s account. They’ll then say they’re connecting you with police. Except, everyone on the call is a scammer trying to get your financial information.

    Amazon rarely calls their customers, even if there are fraudulent charges. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up, then check your Amazon account to make sure there are no fraudulent charges on the account.


    An old used car scam is making a reappearance, or maybe it never went away. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers about used cars for sale that the seller claims is being stored out of state. The scammers will claim that you need to pay a transport company with either gift cards or a money transfer. Often, the scammers will claim that eBay is shipping the vehicle. While eBay does have a used car marketplace, they do not do any shipping of vehicles. And as usual, gift cards should only be used as gifts, and money transfers should never be sent to people you don’t know personally.


    One scam that has been popping up all over the country is the police T-shirt scam. From coast to coast, residents have been receiving text messages that claim to be selling T-shirts for their local police department. The text message contains a link that is supposed to be a shop for the T-shirts, but is actually a fake website designed to take your financial information. If you receive one of these texts, block the number and delete the text.


    Lastly, there seems to be a new Social Security scam going around the country. According to reports, there’s an ad circulating on social media that claims Social Security will provide a spending card for adults over the age of 51. This is not true, as Social Security offers no such service. More than likely, if someone tries to apply for one of these fictitious cards, the scammers will either ask for financial information, or they’ll ask for a payment first before the card can be issued.

    If you see an ad that promises you amazing Social Security or Medicare benefits, be very skeptical of them. Too often, these services are either misleading or downright fraudulent.

    If you have any questions about these advertised services, it is recommended you contact the Social Security Administration first at 1 (800) 772-1213.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 25, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social security, social security lock card,   

    New trick added to Social Security scam 

    By Greg Collier

    When it comes to impersonation scams. The Social Security Administration is probably the most impersonated government agency. Con artists often do this because Social Security benefits are largely used by seniors, and in many cases it may be their only source of income. So, when a Social Security recipient is threatened with their benefits being cut off, they might not react in the most logical manner to a scammer. Scammers are constantly adapting their tactics to intimidate seniors into giving them what they want, whether it’s money or information. Recently, scammers have come up with a new angle to try to get seniors to hand over their money.

    From New York to Hawaii, authorities are warning Social Security recipients about the latest rash of Social Security scam calls. As usual, scammers are posing as the SSA and calling people to tell them that their Social Security status is in jeopardy. Seniors are being told that they’re under investigation by the SSA and that their Social Security numbers could be locked. The scammers add that this could affect their bank accounts and employment. The scammers are now telling seniors they can prevent this by buying a Social Security lock card, which doesn’t actually exist. This usually leads into scammers telling their victims they can purchase the lock card by buying gift cards and providing the fake SSA with the card numbers.

    As always, when it comes to gift cards, they should only be used for gifts. No legitimate company or agency will ever ask for them as a form of payment to settle any kind of charge or debt. Also, as we said, the SSA is probably the most impersonated agency when it comes to scams. Scammers can easily spoof phone numbers and make it appear as they’re calling from the SSA’s office. Unless you’ve contacted the SSA first due to an ongoing issue, they will rarely call you. Instead, the SSA does the bulk of its communication through mail. The SSA will also never threaten you with termination of benefits or any kind of prosecution. If you receive a call like that, hang up without even talking to the person on the other line.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 18, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social security   

    Social Security scammers try to get man to sell his own car 

    By Greg Collier

    The following story is yet another example showing not only how low scammers are willing to stoop, but also the extremes they’re willing to go to steal money from their victims.

    The story starts out like many other Social Security scams. A man from North Carolina receives a call from someone posing as someone from the Social Security Administration. The caller says that the man’s Social Security number has been connected to a drug crime in Texas. Typically, the scammers will say that they’ve found a rental car near the Mexican border that had drugs that was rented using the victim’s Social Security number. The man was then told he needed to pay a fine to avoid arrest.

    The man was skeptical, but the caller said that they were going to have someone from his local police department call him. A short time later, the man received a call that appeared to be coming from his local police department. The Caller ID even said it was the police department calling. That caller reiterated what the first caller said. The phony police detective told the man that there was a federal warrant out for his arrest and that he needed to pay the fine.

    Unfortunately, it was at this point that the man believed the story he was being told. The original caller called the man back and instructed the man to buy $7000 in gift cards. This happened to be all the money the man had. That wasn’t enough for the scammers, though. They told the man that he needed to sell his car to pay for the rest of the imaginary fine. They even gave him a list of local car dealerships where he could sell the car. It was at this point that a neighbor intervened and told the man that this was a scam.

    It’s not unheard for scammers to try and squeeze as much money as possible from a victim. In many cases, scammers have repeatedly harassed the same victim for multiple payments. However, this is the first time we’ve heard of scammers trying to get a victim to sell their car after bleeding their victim dry of all their cash.

    As we mentioned, this is a common scam that usually targets retirees who are unaware of how the Social Security Administration actually does business. They will rarely ever call you. The majority of communication from the SSA will be sent to recipients through the mail. No government agency or law enforcement agency will ever threaten to arrest you over the phone if you don’t make a payment then and there. No legitimate company, agency, or organization will accept gift cards as payment except the companies the gift cards are intended for.

    If you know someone who might be vulnerable to this scam, please share our post with them or direct them to the SSA’s Scam Warning page.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , social security   

    This Social Security scam uses kindness instead of threats 

    This Social Security scam uses kindness instead of threats

    Normally when we hear about a Social Security scam the victim is being threatened with having their benefits suspended. For example, one of the more common scams is when someone calls you saying that your Social Security number was used in a crime and your benefits will be suspended. Then you’ll be told that the problem can be resolved if you make some kind of payment. More recently, we’ve heard of a scam that does the exact opposite.

    A man from Louisiana received a call from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration. He was told that they were in the process of updating the man’s file and that he could be eligible for an increase in benefits. The man stated that he thought it was the real SSA since the person who called was discussing the cost of living which is why he may have been eligible for an increase.

    The man did end up giving the caller personal and financial information. When he went to the bank to get his most recent Social Security payment, it wasn’t there. He called the real SSA who told him that the scammers redirected his payments to somewhere else. Luckily, the SSA is correcting the issue.

    Unless you have an ongoing issue that you’ve already discussed with the SSA, they will not call you out of the blue. They will not threaten you with arrest or a suspension of benefits. They won’t call to tell you that you could have an increase in benefits either. This goes for emails as well. The SSA does the majority of its communication by mail.

    If you receive a phone call from someone claiming to be from the SSA hang up. Then call the SSA at 1 (800) 772-1213 to make sure there isn’t a legitimate issue.

  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 4, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social security,   

    A reminder that some scams never go away 

    A reminder that some scams never go away

    While we haven’t seen any new developments in scams today, we thought we’d help you brush up on some of the old classics. As always, just because these scams are being reported from different parts of the country, they can likely be applied to your region if they show up near you.

    Always be careful when buying a car online, especially if the price is too good to pass up. A woman in Oklahoma found what she thought was a great deal on a car for her son on Facebook Marketplace. The seller claimed the price was so cheap because her husband died and she also happened to be deploying with the military. On top of that, the seller asked for payment in gift cards and that the car will be shipped by eBay. Always be wary of any sob stories that come with bargains. Also, be suspicious if payment is requested in gift cards or some other untraceable form of payment. And keep in mind that eBay does not ship vehicles even if the vehicle is purchased on eBay.

    Social Security scams are abundant but the one that seems to be the most popular these days is what we call the impersonation scam. A man in Pennsylvania received a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. The man was told that his Social Security number had been compromised. The scammer recited the man’s name, age, address, and the last four digits of his Social Security number and then asked the man to verify that information. Thankfully, the man recognized it as a scam and hung up. The SSA usually only communicates with recipients through the mail and would already have the information that the scammer was trying to verify.

    Lastly, a woman in Tennessee was taken in a romance scam recently. She met a man on a dating site. The man said that he had to go to Singapore for work but once he got there the man supposedly contracted COVID and was in ICU. The man said he needed money to be treated. Then a ‘friend’ of the man said that he needed to fly out to Singapore to help the first man so she paid for the plane ticket. She later found out that the pictures being used by the scammers were two evangelists from Brazil. Never send money to someone you haven’t met face to face. Romance scammers will go to great lengths in convincing their victims they’re in a relationship.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social security, Synthetic ID, Synthetic ID Theft, Synthetic Identity Theft   

    Identity theft trick could be undetectable for years 

    Identity theft trick could be undetectable for years

    Even if we’ve never experienced it personally, just about everyone is aware of identity theft. Over the years, victims of identity theft have found their lives thrown into turmoil over charges and expenses that they never applied before. However, since all the charges are in the victim’s name, it can take victims years before restoring their credit to a reasonable state it was in before the theft. Now, consumer advocacy groups are warning consumers about a different form of identity theft that could go unrecognized for potentially decades.

    The Better Business Bureau calls it Synthetic Identity Theft. It varies from usual forms of identity theft because it doesn’t steal the whole of your identity. In Synthetic Identity Theft, the thieves will only need your Social Security number. With just that, they can use a fake name, address, and date of birth to create a ‘synthetic’ person. That person won’t have any credit history at first so the thieves will initially be denied for any credit application. However, that will start a credit history for this synthetic ID and eventually, the thieves will be able to open some form of credit. Eventually, they’ll get a high enough line of credit where they’ll extend the credit to their limits before discarding the synthetic ID.

    Eventually, debt collectors will trace the original Social Security number back to its rightful owner and the nightmare of identity theft really begins. Young children are especially vulnerable to Synthetic Identity Theft as the thieves are looking for Social Security numbers that have no credit at all attached to them.

    Unfortunately, there’s not a lot consumers can do to protect themselves from Synthetic Identity Theft. Due to the way ID thieves use a hodge-podge of identity elements to create synthetic IDs normal precautions like credit freezes won’t work. The best way to protect yourself and your child is to keep your Social Security numbers closely guarded. You can also keep an eye out by monitoring your mail, phone calls, and email for strange communications that may be regarding your children.

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