Con artists have been tricking senior citizens and retirees into handing over their social security funds for years now. Scammers know how to prey on the vulnerabilities of the elderly and have been utilizing the phone scam for quite some time.
However, the Social Security Administration (SSA) has announced that scammers are now emailing fake documents to unsuspecting victims.
Let’s take a look at how this new strategy works and what you can do to avoid the latest attack on social security funds.
How the Fake Document Scam Works
According to the SSA, cybercriminals are faking official letterhead to “authenticate” the documents and letters they are sending to targets’ emails. Although company letterhead isn’t all that difficult to forge, it’s still a pretty effective way to deceive victims.
Fake documents contain a variety of information. Some letters may threaten legal action if a fine isn’t paid, while others promise increased benefits once private information is disclosed.
Whatever the case may be, the scammer’s goal is to convince the victim to provide their private social security information to access the funds. The enclosed document will ask for payment via wire transfer, internet currency, or cash.
An official-looking document can be more intimidating to a senior citizen than a phone call. Scammers know this and hope this new strategy elicits a greater response.
How to Avoid the Fake Document Scam
If you or someone close to you receives an SSA email like this, look closely for the following red flags:
- Poor spelling and improper grammar
- Threats of jail time or legal action
- Payment demands through wire transfer, internet currency, or cash
- Promises of benefit increases
If there is an issue with your social security account, SSA will never tell you of it through email. The agency will craft an official, well-written letter and send it through the post office directly to the recipient’s mailbox.
The SSA will never request payments via wire transfer, internet currency, or cash.
The SSA advises that folks create a “My Social Security” account on SSA’s website. This will allow you or your loved one to track any activity related to your benefits.
If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of any correspondence with SSA, take pause. Then, call the agency’s mainline at (800) 772-1213 to speak with a live representative.