Financial expert warns of social security fraud

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) – A financial expert is issuing a strong warning about scammers trying to collect Social Security checks.

In 2021, the Social Security Administration received more than 568,000 fraud reports with a total loss to victims of more than $63.6 million. This year, the agency received more than 31,000 Social Security-related fraud complaints.

“The scam involves a phone call from someone posing as a local or government official,” said Brad Zucker of SMA Wealth Management. “They can even use robocalls and follow up with emails or texts to convince you they’re investigating.”

Zucker said scammers claim your Social Security number was compromised or blocked for fraudulent activity and then attempt to obtain the victim’s personal information in order to reroute their Social Security payments to a different account. Scammers can also ask for money through PayPal, Venmo, or even cryptocurrency.

“Don’t fall for these tricks!” said sugar. “If the person on the other end of the line looks suspicious, hang up and report the call to Social Security.”

Zucker also advises people to know who is on the other line of the call. He said to always ask the person who they are and write their name.

The Social Security Administration occasionally contacts recipients, but this is rare. Management does not require payment by gift card or prepaid debit card. Representatives will likely deduct from future payments or accept a check.

The protection of personal data is also important.

“Don’t give out your Social Security number to anyone,” Zucker said. “If it’s being used to verify who you are, ask if you can only provide the last four digits and not your full social security number.”

Another tip is to change passwords frequently to make it harder for scammers to gain access to personal accounts. However, when changing a password, experts advise using different passwords for each account because if one website is hacked, that scammer could potentially have information for all other accounts.

Finally, checking financial reports regularly is a great way to avoid fraud. Americans can use the free credit report once a year. If you have any problems, contact the credit bureaus and ask for a fraud alert or credit freeze on your accounts.

Social security is intended to replace around 40 percent of income. Most people need at least 80 percent of their preretirement income to maintain the lifestyle they want in retirement.

Financial professionals determine a client’s unique financial picture by examining seven distinct areas: capital, the liquidity of their money, taxes, the return or growth of their money, income planning, maintenance costs, and estate avoidance. These seven areas help create a comprehensive financial roadmap that will guide clients safely through retirement.

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