Social Security Benefits Status: How Fraud Works
Scammers tend to be attracted to senior citizens due to many weaknesses and vulnerabilities these usually have. There is no surprise that the Social Security Benefits status is one hot topic for fraud. Let’s take a look and analyze what happens when you receive a Social Security scam call.
Seniors are typically worried about their money and are very protective of it. Often, they are on a limited income due to only receiving retirement or Social Security benefits. Their funds can be rather limited. They also tend to come across as being very trustworthy, aka naive.
Their appealing characteristics make them an easy target for a scammer to take advantage of them. Unfortunately, seniors have been scammed way too many times about their Social Security benefits. Today we are going to talk about three of them. How do these scams work?
Watch the video below to see Social Security Fraud exposed, or read on:
Even though seniors are on a fixed income, they also tend to have money in savings. They are older and have had the opportunity to save a lot longer than a younger person would. They went through many life experiences, and wisdom taught them that a person should set money aside just in case a life emergency pops up, so they will have the funds to cover the cost.
However, although they are smarter financially than a younger person may tend to be, that doesn’t necessarily mean they have a lot of money.
Given the financial circumstances that seniors are struggling with, that demonstrates just exactly how tragic it is when a senior is tricked out of their money. This is why it is crucial to be able to identify and avoid scams. So let’s look at the latest three Social Security scams going around these days:
1. Social Security Benefits Status Maintenance
The first scam involves someone who pretends to work for the Social Security Administration office. They contact you and claim that they need to update your records on file, so your status can be maintained in good standings.
They ask you all kinds of questions that pertain to your personal information. These are just the type of questions that a thief needs to know the answer to steal your identity. They will ask for not only your address and date of birth, but they will also ask for your social security number, your bank account number, and your mother’s maiden name, along with many others.
Often, your mother’s maiden name is the answer to the security question on many websites, so this is giving them full-blown access to your accounts.
Do not provide any personal information to anyone that contacts you. If your records need to be updated, you should communicate with the social security office yourself by looking up their correct phone number.
This will ensure you are actually speaking to them. If you feel that your information may need to be updated and the person calling you was indeed from the social security office, don’t give them information when they call you. Instead, hang up and call them directly to confirm.
2. Apply For Social Security Benefits With Someone Else
The second scam involves someone approaching you and telling you that they can increase the amount of money you receive each month from social security benefits (or even apply them in a completely new way) if you pay them a small fee.
Always assume that if someone approaches you asking too many questions out of the blue, it is always a red flag. Yes, there are strategies you can take advantage of to get bigger and better financial results, but this is not how to do so.
If you want to try and get more money each month, then you should consult a financial advisor and let him/her guide you. There are always books you can read that educate you on the proper way to do this.
It is also possible to appeal your checks’ size, but this must be done directly through the Social Security office. There is no cost to file an appeal. It can easily be a complicated process, so you are allowed to hire an outside source to help you.
Even if you are not a senior, it is still always a good thing to educate yourself and stay up to date with the most prevalent scams in all financial sectors. There are always scammers trying to trick you and get your money, regardless of your age.
3. Social Security Benefits Fake Referendum
In this scam variation, criminals are trying to scare the seniors that they may lose their Social Security benefits. The scammer will send a letter to the senior. It will contain false information, such as claiming to be from a non-profit organization that identifies as an advocate for senior citizens.
This letter will claim that Congress is trying to get rid of the social Security Benefit program entirely, which, of course, is not true. The fake organization is supposedly trying to fight against this decision and vouch for seniors to receive their benefits still.They say that to prevent it from happening, they are mailing out referendum ballots that need to be collected from as many seniors as possible. The ballots are supposedly asking the seniors to vote to keep their social security benefits, after which they need to be sent them back to gather the results. Scammers also claim that if the referendum receives enough votes, the seniors will end up getting more money than they earn now.
The scam typically requests each senior to make a small donation of $15-$20 to have the funds to continue sending out more ballots to all seniors. The “donation” is relatively small, which is why many seniors respond by sending the funds.
It would be a reasonable donation, of course, if it weren’t a scam. This is a fee that someone may donate if it were a real donation to a legitimate company.
As if making the cash donation to the scammer isn’t bad enough already, a bigger problem occurs if they choose to make the payment with their credit card. That is the scammers’ hope so that they can max out the card instantly.
Donating with your credit card will give the scammer your personal and valuable financial information. This is also enabling the criminal to make fraudulent charges on the account and possibly even steal the victim’s identity.
You should be aware that national government referendums are not conducted by non-profit organizations by mail, especially for fundraising purposes. You should always be cautious of this and be careful who you choose to release any type of personal or credit card information.
If you receive a letter in the mail similar to the one above, you should consider taking it to your local police department. They will have the information about the scam and hopefully be able to track where it came from. Even if you were able to recognize the fraud, this might help save others from becoming victims. If you do not contact the police department to investigate the situation, at least throw the letter away and do not respond.
If you are led to believe for any reason that it may be real, please do some investigating on your own first. If it is a legitimate company, then it will be listed as a non-profit organization through the Better Business Bureau. Be sure that you spell the name correctly. Some fake non-profit organizations will identify themselves as another company but change their name or spelling very slightly.
Always be on guard for many other scams targeting citizens, such as the Social Security Suspension, VA Loan Home Rates, Complete Emergency Care, Free Coupon For Groceries, or the Medical Alert Bracelet or the Benefits Package scams.
Average Retirement Savings By Age
Speaking numbers, an official Government Accountability Office report dated a couple of years back determined that the average household for seniors aged between 55-64 has a median retirement savings of $104,000.
On the other hand, those who are aged between 65-74 have a median savings of $148,000. It is suggested that you only draw 4% of your savings each month to ensure you have enough in your retirement for the rest of your life. So typically, on average, seniors only withdraw around $500 a month. So needless to say, they value every single dollar they receive.
As far as receiving social security retirement benefits, a senior will typically average about $1,360 per month. Most people that retire become very dependent on their monthly social security check. If you check the reports from the Social Security Administration, you will see that the majority of elderly beneficiaries will receive more than 50% of their income from their monthly social security check. Millions of people even get 90% or more of the social security check revenue, so this is a minimal income.
Social Security Benefits Status Scams: How to Report
Make your family and friends aware of these Social Security Benefits scams by sharing it on social media using the buttons provided. You can also officially report the scammers to the Federal Trade Commission using the link below:
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