LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – A financial expert has a sharp warning about scammers trying to collect social security checks.
In 2021, the Social Security Administration received more than 568,000 fraud reports totaling more than $ 63.6 million in losses to victims. This year, the agency has received more than 31,000 social security-related fraud complaints.
“The scam involves a phone call from someone pretending to be a local or public official,” said Brad Zucker of SMA Wealth Management. “They can even use robocalls and follow up with emails or text messages to convince you that they are investigating you.”
Zucker said fraudsters will claim that your social security number has been compromised or suspended due to fraudulent activity, and then they try to get the victim’s personal information to redirect their social security payments to another account. Scammers can also claim money through Paypal, Venmo or even cryptocurrency.
“Do not fall for these tricks!” said Zucker. “If you are suspicious of the person at the other end of the line, hang up and report the call to the social services.”
Zucker also advises people to know who is on the other line of the call. He always said to ask the person to confirm who they are and write his or her name down.
The social administration occasionally contacts recipients, but this is rare. The administration will not ask for payment by gift card or prepaid payment card. Representatives are likely to deduct future payments or accept a check.
Privacy is also important.
“Do not give your social security number to anyone,” Zucker said. “If it’s being used to verify who you are, ask if you can only give the last four numbers instead of your full social security number.”
Another tip is to change passwords often to make it harder for scammers to gain access to personal accounts. However, when changing a password, experts advise using different passwords for each account, because if a site is hacked, then the scammer could potentially have information about all the other accounts.
Finally, a regular check of financial credit reports is a good way to avoid being scammed. Americans can benefit from the free credit report, which is eligible once a year. If there are any issues, please contact the credit bureaus and ask to put a fraud alert or credit stop on your accounts.
Social security is designed to replace about 40 percent of one’s income. Most people will need at least 80 percent of their early retirement income to maintain the lifestyle they want when they retire.
Financial experts determine a client’s individual financial picture by examining seven different areas: principal, liquidity of their money, taxes, return or growth of their money, income planning, cost of long-term care, and avoidance of probate. These seven areas help create a comprehensive financial roadmap that will surely guide clients through retirement.