The Social Security Administration recently voiced concerns over a spike in reported Social Security scams. Additional data shows that the number of Social Security fraud cases has surged during the pandemic. The agency received more than 718,000 reports of telephone scams in the fiscal year ending September 30th which totaled nearly $45 million in losses.
This number also marked an increase from 2018 when 478,000 cases of Social Security fraud occurred. Fraudulent calls during the pandemic also increased from less than 6,000 in April 2020 to over 100,000 in September. To better protect you and your loved one from being harmed by social security fraud, this article reviews the 4 most common types of Social Security fraud as well as what you can to avoid being harmed this way.
# 1 – Fraudulent “Criminal Act” Phone Calls
Fake phone calls are one of the most common types of Social Security fraud. These calls often involve people who pretend that they’re from the Social Security Administration who try to obtain the subject’s Social Security number and then demand money. The language used during these calls has taken on an aggressive tone in recent years.
The caller will often state that as the result of improper or illegal activity, the individual will be arrested or face legal action unless the subject calls a particular number. One of the biggest indicators that these calls are fraudulent is that while the Social Security Administration occasionally contacts people by phone, this contact often involves people who have current business with the organization.
# 2 – Fraudulent Service Phone Calls
Another type of scam calls tries to sell subject certain services. As part of these calls, the caller will often offer a new Social Security card, enroll a new participant in the Social Security program, or provide a list of Social Security contributions to date.
# 3 – Fake Emails and Phishing
Social Security victims can be lured in by “phishing” emails that deceivingly appear to be correspondence from the Social Security Administration. These emails often have attachments that resemble actual Social Security Correspondence. Sometimes, emails also instruct readers to visit a webpage disguised to look like it belongs to the Social Security Administration. One of the best ways to distinguish scams of this nature is that the Social Security Administration never seeks personal information and does not utilize a threatening tone.
# 4 – Mail Fraud
While e-mail and online fraud have replaced mail fraud to a degree, some Social Security fraud is still committed by mail. One scheme involves a direct mail scam that primarily targets older individuals. A letter arrives in the mail offering additional funds from the Social Security Administration while requesting that the subject provide additional information. One substantial clue that mail of this nature is fraudulent is that the Social Security Administration would never request personal details like social security numbers through the mail.
Contact an Estate Planning Attorney
Social security fraud is just one of many ways in which elderly individuals can be harmed. To make sure that you are protected from such abuse as well as to protect your rights if you’ve been the victim of Social Security fraud, you should not hesitate to speak with a knowledgeable lawyer. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free case evaluation.