CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – If you or someone you know receives Social Security benefits, there are several ways to avoid Social Security benefits.
The Social Security Administration approves a cost-of-living adjustment each year for recipients of Social Security benefits and supplemental security income (SSI), according to the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
Inflation could increase payments by 8.7% this year, which is a significant increase considering it’s the highest COLA approved in over 40 years, and schemers are taking advantage of it.
Scammers may contact you by phone, text, or email and say that this “Social Security Administration representative” is claiming that you need to request your cost of living increase. They may also ask you to visit a website and send information by text, email, or talk to them on the phone to get benefits.
The schemer will ask you to verify your identity by sharing your personal information, such as your full name, address, or social security number. They may even ask for your bank account information and claim that the representative will deposit the extra money directly into your bank account. If you give them your bank details, they may be able to access your own money.
The BBB gives the following tips to avoid these regulations:
• Remember, the SSA’s COLA is automatic. You do not have to do anything for the increase in the allowance. If someone says otherwise to you, you are probably dealing with a scammer.
• Know how the SSA communicates. According to SSA, “If there is a problem with your social security number, we will send you a letter. In general, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or if you have ongoing business with us.” A call, text, or email from an SSA agent out of the blue is a red flag.
• Don’t give in to threats. SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action. They will never suspend your social security number or demand payment from you. They will never ask for personal information or bank details to give you more benefits. If someone demands these things or threatens you over the phone, they are not with SSA.
• When in doubt, hang up. If you suspect you are being scammed, stop all communication. Visit Medicare.gov to research or call 1-800-MEDICARE to confirm the correspondence is legitimate before taking any action.