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October 26, 2022 Fraud & Scams

Be on the Lookout for Social Security Scams!

Fraudsters tend to follow the headlines. They grab on to information that is new and exploit areas of uncertainty, taking advantage of people along the way.

With the recent announcement of the Social Security Cost-of-Living Adjustment for 2023, fraudsters jumped at the chance to impersonate the Social Security Administration in an effort to obtain personal information, money, or gain unauthorized access to a computer system.

The Social Security Office of Inspector General issued a Scam Alert, notifying people of these practices and providing some helpful tips to keep you safe. Criminals are contacting people, offering, on behalf of the Social Security Administration, to activate a benefit increase. This is NOT the Social Security Administration, but rather a criminal.

Some important reminders are to ignore unexpected email or text messages and unsolicited offers. Do not click on links from unknown senders or share personal information with people who you are not familiar with or have not had contact with. Personal information includes a Social Security number, Medicare number, bank account information, or credit card information.

Unfortunately, government imposter or impersonator scams are common. An imposter scam typically takes place over the telephone, but other means of communication can also be used, such as text messages, email messages, social media advertisements, and the mail system.

The scammer pretends to be from an agency that you are familiar with, for example the Social Security Administration, Medicare, or the Internal Revenue Service, in hopes of gaining legitimacy for information to be shared. The scammer will often alert you to a problem with your current account or entice you with notification of a prize. There is usually a sense of urgency with the scammer and very specific instructions about how to pay to either correct the problem or claim the prize.

Your best defense is to hang up the phone as quickly as possible or delete the message without clicking on any links that are included. Never share personal information with people who are unknown to you or contact you out of the blue. The Federal Trade Commission has additional information about how to avoid government impersonator scams that might be helpful to you.

To learn more about Medicare-related scams, visit the Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol’s website or call our toll-free, confidential Helpline at (888) 818-2611.