Hundreds of people on the Treasure Coast are falling victim to Social Security scams
Think you could spot a Social Security scam? Don’t be so sure. Throughout the Treasure Coast, people are falling for fake phone calls, texts and emails that appear to come from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Since the COVID-19 outbreak in early March 2020, Social Security scam attempts have been on the rise. The novel coronavirus pandemic has led to a new wave of fraudulent attempts in recent weeks capitalizing on people’s anxieties and fears.
Recent reports reveal that Social Security beneficiaries have received letters through the U.S. mail stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number referenced in the letter. Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments during this period of COVID-19 office closures and reduced operating capacity.
At the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we fight for our clients to receive Social Security Disability (SSD) and Veteran’s Disability benefits. We understand how critical this support is for many Treasure Coast families. That’s why we want to educate not just our clients, but everyone in the community, on how to spot and prevent Social Security scams.
How to tell if it’s legitimate or a Social Security scam
Social Security scams on the Treasure Coast have become more sophisticated. Scammers are aware that people are catching on to their attempts, so they are coming up with new, unexpected ways to convince Social Security beneficiaries that their intentions are honest and legitimate. Here are five things to look for to help you detect Social Security scam attempts.
- Threatening arrest or legal action: If you receive a phone call from the “Social Security Administration” and they are threatening to arrest you, sue you, or suspend your Social Security account, it is a scam. The SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action if you don’t pay a fine or fee.
- Emails or text messages requesting personal information: If you receive an email or text message from the “Social Security Administration” asking you to provide them with personal information, such as your Social Security number, it is a scam. The SSA will never contact you via email or text message; they will always send an official letter via the mail to notify you of potential issues.
*Beware that scammers are becoming more sophisticated. Even if you receive an email from an email address with “ssa” in the name, it is highly likely to be fraudulent. If you have any doubts, always call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.
- Requests for payment by gift card, pre-paid card, cash, or wire transfer: If you receive a call from the “Social Security Administration” asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash, it is a scam. The SSA will mail a letter with payment instructions and options. Scammers ask for payment this way because it is difficult to trace and recover.
- Misspellings and grammar mistakes: If you receive an email or text from the “Social Security Administration” with words misspelled or grammatical errors, it is a scam. Even if the correspondence has letterhead or branding that looks official, scammers create falsified documents that look like the SSA, but there will always be clear differences. Again, if you have any doubts, always call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.
- Offers to increase benefits in exchange for payment: If you receive a call from the “Social Security Administration” offering you the opportunity to increase your benefits amount in exchange for payment, it is a scam. SSA employees will never promise to increase your Social Security benefits in exchange for one-time fee, monthly fee, or any other form of payment.
How to report a Social Security scam on the Treasure Coast
If you think you have been contacted by a Social Security scammer or if you have been the victim of a Social Security scam, report it immediately to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at FTC.gov/complaint and to the SSA Office of Inspector General Fraud at oig.ssa.gov .
Have you been denied Social Security Disability benefits?
Call our Social Security attorneys immediately at (866) 930-6435
At the Law Firm of Hoskins, Turco, Lloyd & Lloyd, we have been advising and representing individuals on the Treasure Coast, and beyond in Social Security Disability matters for over 30 years. Led by attorneys Louis Turco and Ian Lloyd, our Social Security Disability and Veteran’s Disability department has successfully appealed thousands of denied Social Security Disability and Veteran’s Disability claims. We handle the entire appeal process for our clients. From the paperwork to the filing and SSA meetings, we will do everything on your behalf to get you the benefits you need and deserve.
We offer free consultations to all clients. You can meet with us in person at one of our four offices on the Treasure Coast: Port St. Lucie, Fort Pierce, Vero Beach, and Okeechobee. Or you can meet with us over the phone or through video conferencing. Call us at (866) 930-6435 to schedule your free meeting.