Record increase in Social Security benefits leads to surge in scams

The Social Security Administration will never demand immediate payment from you
Published: Apr. 19, 2023 at 4:07 PM EDT
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InvestigateTV - Social Security benefits increased by 8.7% in 2023, the largest cost of living adjustment in 40 years.

But Anthony Monaco, Special Agent in Charge of the Major Case Unit at the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General, said that record increase has led to a surge in social security scams.

“We started receiving letters that looked very official saying, ‘Dear social security recipient…you need to call this number and you need activate your cost-of-living allowance,’” Monaco explained. “Well, the problem with that is you don’t have do it. It’s Social Security administration. That’s automatic.”

Monaco said tactics vary but consistently contain red flags, usually in the form of the scammer presenting an unexpected problem or situation, then offering a solution with a hefty price tag.

Monaco shared several other red flags to look out for:

  • Be cautious if someone is pressuring you to send money
  • Be wary of unexpected phone calls and messages
  • Never click on links from an unrecognized source

Monaco said typically recipients contact the SSA first if there is an issue with their account, not the other way around.

If you do fall victim to a scam, Monaco said to report it immediately. The quicker the scam is reported, the more likely it is your assets can be recovered.

Reports can be filed directly with the SSA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3).

The SSA has more information about preventing fraud and the latest scam alerts here.