BBB warning of new Social Security scam - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

BBB warning of new Social Security scam

Released by The Better Business Bureau:

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - January 27, 2012 - BBB cautions consumers about telephone calls purportedly from Social Security regarding the issuing of a new "Medical Benefits" card. The Social Security Administration has verified that they have received numerous calls about this scam. The Agency has received numerous reports about telephone calls or visits from people alleging to be Social Security employees. In each case, the person attempted to obtain personal information, such as a Social Security or bank account number, from the Social Security recipient.

"With nearly 55 million individuals receiving Social Security benefits, it's no wonder they are being targeted", said Mechele Agbayani Mills, President and CEO of BBB Central East Texas. "That's why it's so important that consumers use caution when being asked for personal information."

In AARP's Special Report in their November Bulletin, Sid Kirchheimer writes about three social security scams that are prevalent.

Your personal information needs updating. Thieves are pretending to be Social Security Administration (SSA) employees and call, email or mail seniors with the intent of getting personal information. The con artists say they are updating your records and need your Social Security number, birth date, mother's maiden name and bank account number. Before giving any information call or visit a Social Security office to verify that the contact is real.

You can get additional benefits beyond your present regular Social Security payment. All you have to do is pay a "filing fee." SSA does not charge filing fees. AARP says appealing for higher benefits is complicated. You may want to hire someone to assist you in the appeal. Social Security does regulate what these people can charge.

You didn't get a cost of living adjustment (COLA) increase in your Social Security benefits for the past two years. Now you can get that money in a lump sum of about $3,000. Not really. It is a scam to charge you to file new tax forms — plus, you will have given personal information that can lead to identity theft.

BBB offers the following advice when dealing with calls from unknown sources.

  • Never give out personal information unless you have initiated the contact and you are positive you are working with a legitimate agency or company. Remember, the Social Security office can verify any changes that may be taking place with Medicare or Social Security Benefits, so call them first.
  • If Social Security calls you, they will always identify themselves as Social Security employees and will indicate the purpose of their call. If you receive a call from someone claiming to be a Social Security employee and you are at all suspicious, ask the caller for his or her name, work location, and telephone number. To confirm if the call is legitimate, hang up and call Social Security at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
  •  Call BBB so that we can keep a record and alert the community.

For more advice about how to be a savvy consumer, go to www.bbb.org. To report a fraud or scam, call the BBB Hotline: (903)581-8373.

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