(4 Minute Read)
It’s a scammer-eat-scammed world, and more and more scammers are preying on senior citizens than ever before. In fact, 26% of all scam fraud complaints that the Federal Trade Commission tracks involve people over 60, the largest of any age group. Scammers have found very convincing ways to earn the trust of their prey, and because seniors have a larger target on their backs than any other age group, it’s important that they understand some of the more common Social Security scams and what signs to look out for.
A recent common scam that many seniors are falling for involves a letter claiming to be from the ‘American Service Council.’ This letter is a notice about an upcoming social security benefits referendum, in which elected officials are trying to lower social security benefits because they believe seniors have enough money for retirement and no longer need Social Security. These letters encourage seniors to participate in the effort to combat this, asking for a donation in the amount of $16.45, or higher, to be able to send more referendums to additional seniors.
This kind of solicitation works well because it plays on the fears of many seniors struggling to stay on top of their finances. If you receive any mail drawing attention to any serious changes to existing laws and government benefits, it’s important that you conduct research before opting to contribute your money to the cause. After all, some of them are purely and simply scams.
Phony Phone Calls
You might also receive phone calls from someone claiming to be a part of a government agency offering new Social Security cards, or even additional funds or rebates. They’ll offer to proceed making changes to your account by requesting personal information, including your Social Security number and bank account information so that they may ‘deposit the additional funds.’ Never give out this information to someone over the phone claiming to be from a government agency. The scammer can access your account electronically and withdraw funds from it.
It’s important to understand that the government will never contact you for your personal information or to solicit payments for anything by phone. This is because there is no way to guarantee that the caller is in fact a member of a government agency.
Extra Check Mailer
Much like the referendum letter scam, this one comes in by way of direct mail. The letter will offer senior citizens an extra social security check if they simply fill out an attached form and pay a filing fee. The form requests personal information, like Social Security number and bank account information, to help with the application for the additional check.
This sounds too good to be true, because it is. One sign to look for is whether the solicitation is requesting your Social Security number. The Social Security Administration already knows your personal information, especially your social security number, so getting access to your rightful benefits will never necessitate their asking you for it.
Social Security scams are often designed to gather enough information about an individual and their bank accounts to allow the scammers to access those accounts and withdraw funds from them. Seniors everywhere should be aware of the common scams that they are likely to face and what to look out for.
One thing that isn’t too good to be true is taking advantage of any under-performing life insurance policies which can be sold through a life settlement, also called a viatical settlement, for an amount that is significantly larger than the policy’s surrender value. If you have a policy that is no longer performing how you need it to, you might be able to sell all or a portion of it for upfront cash in order to build a proper safety net for your retirement. Check out our website to learn more about life settlements and see if you qualify!
Greg and Sherri have always dreamed of buying an RV and traveling the country but they never were able to save enough money to afford that RV.
Greg, now 83, thought that dream was gone forever until Sherri discovered that he could sell his life insurance policy for $116,000!