Con men are as old as recorded history. And they never cease to come up with new ways to fleece you of your money – even if the new way sounds, appears, and seems like a government agent.
After all, if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, and walks like a duck, it’s probably a scam artist.
And if it calls you and asks for your personal info to ‘verify’ that you have a Social Security account, it’s definitely a scam artist.
(Senior citizens and Baby Boomers, beware – no one who calls you needs your personal information. Don’t give it out.)
Government officials are warning about a rash of cons targeting Social Security beneficiaries.
Posing as agents for the government’s cornerstone retirement program, the latest con tries to trick seniors into “verifying” private information — including Social Security numbers, birth dates and parents’ names — purportedly to provide the senior with a cost-of-living increase in their benefits.
If the senior provides all the requested information, the scammer uses it to contact the real Social Security Administration in an effort to change the person’s direct deposit information and steal benefit checks.
The problem here, see, is generational.
Younger generations, having grown up with the internet and Fake News, have a deeper sense of when someone is trying to electronically or digitally scam you.
But older generations do not. They’ve grown up with newspapers and TV, which didn’t turn liberal until the 80s. The idea that someone could steal their money with a phone call is hard to grasp.
Which means they’re more valuable targets for evil men. Which is why these kinds of scams originate.
This is only the latest in a series of schemes that involve crooks impersonating Social Security staff to steal or extort money.
Social Security’s Office of Inspector General sent out two alerts in March over a fraud that starts with a recorded phone call warning seniors about a problem with their benefit checks.
They’ll be told that a warrant has been issued for [their] arrest and the only way to solve the problem is by buying hundreds of dollars’ worth of prepaid debit cards “to resolve the warrant.”
Baby Boomers and my elders, I have a rule of thumb for you:
If someone calls you and asks for your personal information, do_not_give_it. Ever. For any reason.
Hang up, and call the actual Social Security number, 800-772-1213. If you don’t call them, don’t talk to anyone, ever.
Simple rule. And it will save you money.