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

    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.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on September 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , social security   

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors 

    Social Security scams are still targeting seniors

    Every once in awhile it’s beneficial to review some of the more common scams that are going on today. One of the most common scams are those that threaten to affect the Social Security benefits of senior citizens. Due to the fact that many seniors are on a fixed income, any threat to their Social Security could be seen as a threat to their very existence.

    How the scam typically works is the scammers will call a senior citizen and claim to be from either law enforcement or from the Social Security Administration themselves. They’ll tell their victims that someone has used their Social Security number in some type of crime. The most common crime they claim is that your number was used to rent a car in another state that was found to have illegal drugs in it.

    The scammers will then threaten that your Social Security benefits could be suspended. However, they’ll say that in order to prove your identity you can make a payment over the phone. This is when the scammers will ask for payment in some untraceable means, usually retail gift cards.

    This happened recently to a woman in Ohio. She was told that she needed to empty her checking account before it would be seized by the government. The scammers kept her on the phone the entire time she was buying Target gift cards. Scammers have started doing this to make sure that someone won’t warn them of the scam such as store clerks or bank employees. Before it was all over, she had sent $4000 to the scammers.

    Please keep in mind that the SSA will rarely call you. The only time they may call you is if you have an ongoing issue with your Social Security benefits where you have already spoken with them in the past. This is important because scammers often spoof the SSA’s phone number when calling victims. Most importantly, the SSA will never ask for any sort of payment over the phone and definitely not in gift cards.

    Again, we ask that if you know an elderly person or couple who live alone and do not have access to the internet, please let them know about this scam.

     
  • Geebo 8:01 am on September 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , social security   

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for 

    Another trio of identity theft scams to look out for

    Once again, we’re bringing you a trio of scams that are happening around the country. We think you should keep an eye out for them before they come to your area.

    The first scam literally is one that is happening all across the country. The U.S. Attorney’s Office has issued a warning about a Social Security scam that’s targeting seniors. Scammers are posing as the Department of Justice and are looking to steal personal information. The scammers will leave a number to call back which will lead you to a phony investigator who will ask you for your personal information. If you receive one of these phone calls, you’re asked to report them to the Federal Trade Commission at 877-382-4357 or the FTC website.

    The Department of Health from the state of North Dakota is reporting that residents there have been receiving worrying messages about COVID-19. People there have been receiving texts, emails, and even letters telling them that they’ve tested positive for coronavirus. However, many of the people receiving these messages haven’t even been tested for coronavirus. The messages contain a link that directs them to a website where they’re asked for personal information. You should never click on links from or open any attachments from someone that you don’t know personally.

    Lastly, if you find yourself staying at a hotel on a getaway, be careful what information you give over the hotel phone. Police in Wrightsville, North Carolina are warning vacation goers about a scam that has hit their area. Police there say that scammers are calling hotel rooms posing as the front desk and asking for personal information. Sometimes the scammers will even try to get financial information out of their victims. Please keep in mind that the hotel will not ask for payment information away from the front desk. If you receive a call like this while staying at a hotel either call the front desk directly or go straight to the front desk personally.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , social security   

    Social Security scams continue to target the most vulnerable 

    Social Security scams continue to target the most vulnerable

    It seems like Social Security scams are an ever-present problem anymore. For many disabled and senior citizens, their Social Security benefits are their only source of income and for too many, it’s hardly enough to make ends meet. For these reasons, Social Security recipients are seen as easy targets by many scammers.

    We’re not saying that Social Security recipients are more or less likely to fall for scams, however, scammers can be very convincing when it comes to pressuring their victims into doing things they wouldn’t normally do.

    When it comes to Social Security recipients, scammers often pose as employees of the Social Security Administration itself. They’ll relay some phony scenario in which the victim’s Social Security benefits will be cut off if the victim doesn’t act quickly. Threatened with the loss of their only income, too many victims fall for this scam each year.

    Normally, the scammers are after one of two things. In some instances, they’re only looking for your personal information. We say only but the loss of personal information could lead to a world of problems down the line as anybody who had their identity stolen could tell you. Potentially, identity thieves could take out loans or open lines of credit in your name leaving you facing a mound of debt.

    The other trick scammers try to pull is to get you to pay some sort of fee to ‘restore’ your Social Security benefits. As has become the norm, the scammers will try to get you to pay them in either git cards, pre-paid debit cards, or wire services like Moneygram and Western Union.

    These scams have become such an issue lately that some state Attorneys General have issued warnings to their constituents.

    Please keep in mind that the SSA will rarely call you. The only time they may call you is if you have an ongoing issue with your Social Security benefits where you have already spoken with them in the past. This is important because scammers often spoof the SSA’s phone number when calling victims. Most importantly, the SSA will never ask for any sort of payment over the phone and definitely not in gift cards and the like.

    If you receive one of these phone calls, it’s recommended that you hang up right away. You can then call the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213 to verify if there’s an actual issue or you could call the SSA’s fraud line at (800) 269-0271.

     
  • Geebo 8:00 am on July 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , social security   

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest 

    The Social Security scam that threatens arrest

    There have been reports of another scam going around that targets senior citizens and something that many seniors rely heavily upon. Scammers are posing as the FBI and threatening seniors with either discontinuation of their Social Security benefits, arrest, or both. This scam is largely done in order to get frightened seniors to pay to make fictitious criminal charges go away.

    Recently, reports have come from multiple states where scammers will call seniors posing as FBI agents. The scammers are able to make their phone number appear as if the call is coming from the local FBI office. The scammers will then tell their victim that their Social Security number has been linked to a crime. One of the more common claims the scammers will use is that someone rented a car in the victim’s name which was connected with a major crime. Often the scammers will say that drugs were found in the car as well.

    The scammers will then use this ruse to tell their victim that their Social Security number has been suspended and that the victim would need to pay to get it reinstated. This is where the scammers will ask for payment in their favorite form of currency, gift cards. They’ll instruct the victim to buy an astronomical amount of gift cards and then give the scammers the numbers from the back of the cards.

    Now, you may say that you could never fall for a scam like that. However, many scammers have such a fine-tuned operation that they make the scenario seem more than believable. In many cases, it’s not just one person calling pretending to be a federal agent. Often they’ll keep transferring the victim from one person to another who are all claiming to be part of the FBI while they use psychological tactics to scare the victim into making the payment. These payments are often tallied in the thousands of dollars.

    However, there is always a way these scammers tip their hands and that’s asking for the money in gift cards. We can’t stress enough how often gift cards are not only involved in this scam but also in most scams that happen today.

    If anyone is claiming to be from the government, a utility company, a hospital, or anyone else trying to collect a payment and they ask for a payment on gift cards, it’s almost a certainty that they’re a scammer.

     
  • 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.

     
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