As a family caregiver to an elderly adult, you might sometimes worry about people taking advantage of them. Seniors are frequent targets of scams that seek to bilk them out of their hard-earned money or steal their identity. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) suggests that seniors may be frequent targets because they are seen as being financially secure and having more money than some younger adults. The FBI also states that they are often more trusting because of the time period in which they were raised.
There are plenty of scams out there that target senior citizens, and it seems that a new one involving social security is making the rounds. Many people in the United States are familiar with the scam in which someone calls claiming to be from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Now scammers are making calls to senior citizens and claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The caller attempts to collect personal information from the elder, including their Social Security number. They may do this by telling the senior they are owed a cost-of-living adjustment. Or, they might tell the senior that the SSA’s computer system is not working at the moment, so they need to verify information manually. Once the caller gets the information, they are then able to call the SSA and reroute the senior’s social security payment into their own account.
While it is true that the SSA sometimes contacts individuals by telephone for service purposes, they do not collect personal information in this way. Usually if an SSA employee is calling a senior, it is to follow up on an action that the senior initiated. To protect seniors from scammers, family caregivers should remind them never to give personal information to anyone over the phone.
If an elder receives a call that seems suspicious, caregivers can verify the authenticity of the call by contacting the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. This number can also be used to report fraudulent phone calls. The SSA will need the following information about the call:
* The name the caller gave.
* he caller’s phone number.
* The information the caller asked for.
* The date and time of the call.
*Any other identifying information or details about the call.
This same type of scam may also be initiated by an email that appears as though it comes from the SSA. The SSA will never send an email requesting personal information. If your elderly parent receives such an email, tell them not to respond to it. Instead, call the SSA to ask if they are looking for information from the senior.