WASHINGTON- Last year, Social Security scammers stole nearly $509 million from hard-working Americans, according to Congressman Pay Ryan (D-NY18). As part of National Consumer Protection Week, Congressman Ryan is raising awareness for National Slam the Scam Day and sharing tips for recognizing Social Security Scams. In January, Ryan helped pass the Financial Exploitation Prevention Act to combat elder abuse and financial scams.
“Social Security is an earned benefit that millions of Americans rely on – a promise that if you put in the work, you can retire with dignity,” said Ryan. “Unfortunately, scams to steal from Social Security recipients are all too common, taking advantage of older Americans. Today, to raise awareness for National Slam the Scam Day, I’m releasing a set of helpful tips to recognize scammers and stop them in their tracks.”
“The Office for Aging gets regular calls about the multitudes of scams affecting our seniors,” said Ulster County Office for the Aging Director Susan Koppenhaver. “These scams prey on the isolation and vulnerability of our seniors, and although we take many measures to educate our seniors, somehow many are still victims. If someone you don’t know asks you for money or personal information, it’s most likely a scam. Don’t fall for it.”
“For years, Dutchess County has informed our older adults about scams, offering in-person and virtual presentations about how to prevent being a scam victim,” said Dutchess County Office for the Aging Director Todd Tancredi. “Our Office for the Aging also routinely alerts seniors to emerging scams through our regular written correspondence with seniors. We appreciate any broader efforts that complement and reinforce Dutchess County’s longstanding efforts to safeguard our older adults from such illegal activities.”
Ryan reminds constituents that the Social Security Administration will never threaten, scare, or pressure you to take immediate action. If you receive a call, text, or email that does any of the following, it is a scam:
- Threatens to suspend your Social Security number, even if they have part or all of your Social Security number
- Warns of arrest or legal action
- Demands or requests immediate payment
- Requires payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, Internet currency, or by mailing cash
- Pressures you for personal information
- Requests secrecy
- Threatens to seize your bank account
- Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
- Tries to gain your trust by providing fake “documentation,” false “evidence,” or the name of a real government official
- Congressman Ryan says to protect yourself and others from Social Security-related scams you should:
- Try to stay calm. Do not provide anyone with money or personal information when you feel pressured, threatened, or scared.
- Hang up or ignore it. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email, hang up or do not respond. Government employees will not threaten you, demand immediate payment, or try to gain your trust by sending you pictures or documents.
- Report Social Security-related scams. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email that mentions Social Security, ignore it and report it to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Do not be embarrassed if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.
Ryan reminds seniors to spread the word about scams to their friends and family. For the most up-to-date information on protecting yourself from fraudsters, visit oig.ssa.gov/scam.