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  • Geebo 8:00 am on April 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , social security,   

    More info on stimulus delays 

    More info on stimulus delays

    Even with a large number of Americans having already received their economic impact payments, many still have not. We’ve been receiving a lot of questions about the delays and we’re going to try to answer them as best as possible. However, please keep in mind we are not tax experts and we defer all final authority to the IRS’s Coronavirus and Economic Impact Payments website.

    The most common questions we receive are about the stimulus payments and Social Security. While we don’t have the answer for every situation, from what we understand, payments are supposed to start going out this week. However, that doesn’t mean that everyone on Social Security benefits will receive there’s this week so you should plan accordingly. From everything that we’ve read, if you receive Social Security benefits you’ll receive the stimulus payment the same way you receive your Social Security payments even if you’re not required to file taxes.

    If the IRS does not have any payment information on file for you, you’ll receive a paper check if your eligible for the stimulus payment. Paper checks will be issued in order of annual adjusted gross income. That means that the people who claimed the least income on their 2018 or 2019 tax returns will receive their paper checks first. This article from Forbes contains a schedule of when paper checks are scheduled to be issued depending on your gross income. The highest earners may have to wait until September before receiving their paper checks.

    Lastly, we’ve been hearing some discussion about whether or not US citizens who are married to immigrants will receive a stimulus payment. There is an element of truth to this but it’s not as cut and dry as most people think. If a U.S. citizen is married to an immigrant who does not have a Social Security number and file taxes jointly, neither person is eligible for the stimulus payment. However, if the U.S. citizen filed a single return, they are eligible for the stimulus payment. If a U.S. citizen is married to an immigrant who has a Social Security number and filed taxes jointly, both persons are eligible for the stimulus payment.

    We hope this clears up some of the confusion.

     
  • Geebo 8:10 am on March 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social security   

    Social Security Office warns of new scam 

    Social Security Office warns of new scam

    It’s difficult to find a scam these days that isn’t somehow related to today’s global crisis. Many of these scams have been targeting either the elderly or the underprivileged. The scam we’re discussing today does both.

    The Social Security Office of the Inspector General is warning recipients of a new scam. Due to the current pandemic, many local Social Security offices have been temporarily closed. Social Security itself is still open and functioning. However, scammers have been trying to take advantage of the possible confusion. The scammers have been sending official-looking letters in the mail claiming that Social Security benefits will be terminated or suspended unless they call a phone number contained in the letter. It’s during this call where the scammers will either try to get your personal information or try to get you to make some form of payment. Scammers will try to get victims to pay using such untraceable methods like gift cards, cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or even mailing cash.

    While using pandemic fears as a catalyst is new, this is a twist on a scam we’ve seen used before. Scammers are constantly looking for Social Security recipients to intimidate into thinking their benefits are about to be cut off. In the past, they’ve told victims that their benefits will be suspended because the victim’s Social Security number was used during a crime.

    According to the Social Security Office, they will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefits during the current crisis. Also please keep in mind that Social Security will never threaten you with arrest or ask you for a payment in any of the aforementioned ways. If you receive any kind of notice threatening suspension of benefits, it’s more than likely a scam. If someone were to receive one of these notices, you’re asked to report it to Social Security at their website.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on February 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social security, ,   

    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund 

    Identity thieves could steal your tax refund

    We’ve discussed IRS scams in the past but those scams usually involve someone posing as an IRS agent demanding money from their victims. Now, with it being tax season, there is a whole different scam to be on the lookout for and that’s the tax identity theft scam. In this scam, identity thieves get a hold of your Social Security number and try to steal your tax return using your personal information. With the advent of electronic filing and direct payments, it’s easier than ever for someone to file a phony tax return before the victim even knows about it.

    One of the main ways that identity thieves steal your personal information during tax season is posing as tax preparers. If you’re going to have your taxes prepared professionally stick with the more reputable and well-known firms. If you’re going to use a local tax preparer for the first time, do your research on their reputation and performance. A number of fly by night operations seem to pop up out of nowhere during tax season. If they’re offering their service at below-market costs this could be an indicator that they’re not on the up and up.

    The best way to avoid this scam is to file your return as early as possible. Basically, you want to try and get your return in before any potential identity thieves do. If you’re filing by mail you should take your return directly to your local post office and not risk leaving it to sit in a mailbox. And definitely don’t leave it in your own mailbox for the postal carrier to pick it up. It could be easily stolen from your mailbox that way.

    If you receive a letter from the IRS stating that a duplicate return has been received get in touch with them right away as that means that someone did, in fact, file a return in your name.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social security   

    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam 

    Social Security scams are now the #1 phone scam

    This past Wednesday, the Senate Aging Committee released a report claiming that social Security scams are now the nation’s leading phone scam. For the first time in five years, social Security scams have outpaced IRS scams when it comes to financial losses. These scam calls resulted in the loss of $38 million in 2019 with most of the losses coming from seniors. The Social Security Administration has promised to bolster education efforts when it comes to warning recipients about these scams. This will include mailers sent to recipients and a banner across the SSA website warning recipients of ongoing scams.

    We’ve discussed Social Security scams multiple times in the past. The way they generally work is that the victim will receive a phone call telling them that either there’s been suspicious activity attributed to their Social Security number or that their Social Security benefits are about to be suspended. Sometimes even both these options are threatened. Often these calls will appear as if they’re coming from the SSA’s customer service number which can be easily spoofed. The scammers will then instruct the victims that the problem can be resolved with some kind of payment. This can range anywhere from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Unless you have an ongoing case that requires resolution with the SSA, they will never call recipients. If there is an issue with your Social Security number or benefits, the SSA will always reach out by mail. If you receive one of these phone calls that threaten you with legal action or request some form of payment, you’re asked to hang up and report the call to the Office of the Inspector General. If you know someone who could potentially be targeted in a Social Security scam please show them this post, the article we linked to above, or this warning page from the SSA.

     
  • Geebo 9:03 am on January 30, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social security   

    Man loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents 

    Man almost loses $30,000 to scammers posing as federal agents

    A man in Michigan almost lost $50,000 after falling prey to a very threatening scam. Unfortunately, the man did lose $30,000 to the scammers before the scam was noticed. For many, especially the elderly, that is not an insignificant amount of money to lose. The scam that was used against him was a combination of scams that we’ve discussed previously. At first, it involved a call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They told the man that a car had been leased in his name using his name and Social Security number. From here it became more frightening for the man.

    He was then transferred to someone claiming to be from the Drug Enforcement Agency and that if he didn’t pay them money he would go to jail. The man didn’t believe them and he hung up. He then received a call from someone claiming to be from the local barracks of the Michigan State Police telling him he would be arrested if he didn’t cooperate with the supposed DEA agent. The scammers then instructed the man to purchase $10,000 in gift cards and provide them with the numbers. The next day the scammers called back and instructed him to overnight $20,000 in cash to a location in Texas. The scammers tried to get another $20,000 out of the man but his bank informed him that he was likely the victim of the scam.

    There are a lot of red flags in this story. The first is that Social Security rarely calls recipients and that’s usually only when there’s an ongoing issue that the recipient initiated. Secondly, law enforcement will never call someone asking for money. Lastly, no government agency accepts or requires money through gift cards. If you receive a phone call like this, hang up and call your local police. If you believe there may be some kind of issue that needs your attention through Social Security or law enforcement, call them back at their official numbers.

     
  • Geebo 9:00 am on November 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , social security, ,   

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account? 

    Is there really something wrong with your Amazon Prime account?

    Today, we’re bringing you scams that are happening locally in communities around the country. As we always say, if it’s happening there it could also be happening in your community.

    First up is a report out of Westchester County, New York where police there are warning residents about calls claiming to be from Amazon. Residents have complained about receiving calls from someone claiming that their Amazon Prime accounts have been compromised and need to be renewed. Victims of the scam are then asked for their financial information to resolve the non-existent issue. In one case, a victim was asked to remotely give control of their computer to the scammers so they could ‘improve the security settings.’ So this scam appears to be a hybrid of phishing and the tech support scam.

    A student at Texas A&M recently found herself scammed out of $10,000 in a Social Security scam. She received a phone call with the caller claiming that her Social Security information was misused with some drug issues in El Paso. They threatened her with arrest or she could pay them $10,000. The student was then instructed to transfer money to the scammers by way of BitCoin and gift cards. No government agency will call you on the phone like this and they especially wouldn’t ask for payment in BitCoin and gift cards. If you suspect there may actually be an issue with your Social Security, call the Social Security Administration yourself at their official customer service number of 1 (800) 772-1213.

    Lastly, if you get an unsolicited phone call from someone promising you a great cable deal, it’s more than likely a scam. The Better Business Bureau is warning consumers of these fraudulent phone calls. The caller will promise you a discounted deal on your cable bill if you pay a certain number of months upfront. As with many scams, they ask you to make the payment by using pre-paid debit cards. Like gift cards, one the scammers are able to get the money off of the pre-paid debit card there’s no way of getting it back.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on October 28, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , fund raising, , , , social security,   

    Scammers took advantage of late teen’s fundraiser 

    Scammers took advantage of late teen's fundraiser

    Here are some more scams happening to various communities from around the country. Always keep in mind that if they’re happening in one place, they could be happening somewhere near you.

    In Arkansas, a 15-year-old boy passed away after a freak accident that happened at his home. His grandparents took to social media in order to raise funds for the boy’s funeral expenses. While the family was able to raise the money needed, scammers set up fake social media accounts also posing as the boy’s family. The scam targeted people who already donated asking for phony donations in Amazon gift cards. Thankfully, many of the victims were able to get their money back. However, it shows what depths scammers will stoop to just to make a few hundred bucks.

    In Central Texas, a local police department is warning residents about a phone scam that has been worrying local residents. In it, the scammers pose as agents from the Social Security Administration claiming that there have been bank accounts opened using your Social Security number and that they’re tied to criminal activity. They threaten to freeze all of your bank accounts unless a payment is made over the phone. These calls are reportedly coming from overseas while appearing to be from local phone numbers.

    The last scam may seem like it’s an urban legend passed around on Facebook but according to police in Indiana, it has happened to a number of victims. Police there say a man has been going to WalMart and using the self-checkout to scam victims. The scammer has been allegedly using the self-checkout to scan gift cards but not paying for them. Then, the next person who uses the self-checkout inadvertently ends up paying for the gift card that the scammer scanned. While this sounds like a simple scam to foil, anyone could fall for this if they’re not paying attention. Always make sure that there are no already scanned items on the self-checkout screen. If there are, go to another scanner or contact a store employee.

     
    • Nk 9:36 pm on November 5, 2019 Permalink

      I spoke yesterday to a young man who was in India who originally claimed to be from social security. I admonished him for lying and stealing from people. He was very serious and proud of himself and his team because they don’t wipe out anyone’s money. They only take half. He said that if they have $1000 in their account, they only take $500. He said that’s because they show compassion.

  • Geebo 8:00 am on August 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social security,   

    New scam threatens your family with violence! 

    New scam threatens your family with violence!

    This scam we just recently heard of is so disturbing we don’t even have a clever name for it yet. In it, some scammers called a man from Brooklyn, New York, threatening to kill the man and his family if he didn’t pay them money. The scammers claimed to be from a criminal cartel and then sent the man explicitly violent pictures with claims of this is what would happen to his family if he didn’t pay. The man was hesitant to go to the police, however, he did contact a local community leader who was able to contact authorities. Police say that they have received other reports of this scam and that the scammers are casting wide nets trying to find victims. If you receive one of these calls you should hang up and contact police.

    Social security scams are still on the rise due to the fact that a number of senior citizens aren’t aware of the many scams that specifically target them. The Washington Post is reporting on a scam where the scammers posed as the Social Security Administration (SSA) and threatened to cut off the benefits of a woman in the early stage of Alzheimer’s. She was instructed to buy over $3,000 in gift cards from various merchants to have her benefits restored. One store even tried to warn her that this sounded like a scam. The Post article has a great checklist of things you can do to help senior relatives avoid this scam including sharing these stories every time they come up in the news. They also provide a link to the Federal Trade Commission’s website that has information about all types of impostor scams.

    The last scam for today is a reminder that most scams just don’t go away. We’ve talked about the secret shopper scam many times now. In this scam, ads will be posted hiring for secret shoppers which is a legitimate position with many retail companies. However, the con artists placing these ads online are trying to swindle you by sending you phony checks to use in your new position. They’ll tell you to deposit the checks to use in your secret shopping and send a portion of the check back. Once the bank finds out that the check is a fraud the victim who deposited the check into their bank account is responsible for the entire amount. This recently happened to a college student in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. If you’re considering a secret shopping position always consult with the Mystery Shopping Providers Association’s website before giving out your personal information.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on May 3, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrest warrant, , , social security, utitlitiy company   

    Are these the top phone scams? 

    Are these the top phone scams?

    Residents of San Angelo, Texas have been reporting that there have been three particular phone scams plaguing them this year. While you may not be a resident of San Angelo if these scams are prevalent there then there’s a likely chance they’re prevalent in a lot of American towns.

    The first phone scam is someone calling you claiming to be from a local police department stating that you have a warrant out for your arrest for either failure to appear or missing jury duty. They’ll then try to pressure you into making some form of payment. When someone has a warrant issued for their arrest, police do not call them on the phone. Instead, they’ll take a more personal approach by sending officers to your door. If you receive one of these phone calls do not give out any personal information and call your local police department to report it.

    The second phone scam being reported is that of someone posing as a local utility company threatening to turn off power if payment is not made right away. If your account is in arrears you should receive several notices with your bill that the power could be turned off. The scammers may also try to pressure you into making a payment with either a gift card or pre-paid debit card. As usual, this should be a red flag that the call is more than likely a scam. If you receive a call like this one, once again hang up and call the number of the utility company that appears on your bill if you have any questions about your account.

    Lastly, is the most common phone scam that targets seniors and that’s the Social Security scam. In this scam, someone will call claiming to be from Social Security telling you that your benefits are about to be cut off or your Social Security account will be suspended because your Social Security number was used in a crime. These scammers are either looking for you to give them your Social Security number or will once again ask you to make a payment through gift cards. Social Security rarely calls recipients and will never ask for payment, especially not through gift cards. If you receive one of these calls hang up and call Social Security directly at 800-269-0271 during business hours.

     
  • Geebo 9:23 am on March 14, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: coupon scam, , , social security,   

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K 

    Social Security Suspension, Fake Coupons, Florida is #1, and cancer patient scammed out of $32K

    It’s that time again to bring you the scams of the week that are happening around the country that could eventually come to your area. This week, we also have one that is particularly heinous.

    First up is a new scam targeting senior citizens. A number of our more mature members of society are stating that they are receiving phone calls that tells them that their Social Security numbers are being suspended. Since many seniors rely on Social Security benefits they could be prone to fall for this scam. The FTC is warning seniors that Social security numbers cannot be suspended and to not give any information to anyone calling you pretending to be the government and that if there is an issue with your Social Security the government will contact you by mail.

    Next, we have an online coupon scam that seems to be circulating on social media. If you see a coupon for the pizza chain Little Caesars promising you three free pizzas for their 60th anniversary it’s a scam. If you click on any links regarding this phony coupon it could lead to malware being installed onto your system. Little Caesars themselves has even issued a warning to consumers to avoid this coupon at all costs.

    In scam related news it turns out that Florida is the scam capital of the nation but the victims aren’t who you might think. While many seniors either live or spend a lot of time in Florida they’re not the main targets of scammers. Instead, scammers are targeting people of the so-called Millennial generation. Victims have fallen prey mostly to debt collection scams which seems to track since many Millennials are burdened with outrageous student loan debt. Once again, consumers are being warned about making any kind of payment through wire service or gift cards as these are clear indicators that any collection calls they receive may be a scam.

    Lastly, we have quite the heartbreaking story out of Northern California where a man in the Sacramento area has been taken in by a scam to the tune of $32,000. What makes this particular scam egregious is that the victim is currently struggling with cancer. The man wanted to travel the country with his wife in a motorhome. Unfortunately, the man wired money to someone posing as eBay Motors. Again, wiring money is usually a sure sign of a scam as once the money is wired it’s almost impossible to get it back.

    If you feel like you’ve been the victim of an online scam it is recommended that you contact the FTC at their complaint website.

     
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