Common scams that involve impersonating federal employees garner the public’s attention periodically. Whether the scammers attack a localized area like Pensacola, focus on imitating a specific agency like the USPS, or even raid US Court databases, there are many commonalities among the varying strategies. The most likely resemblance across the array of robocall con-men is pushiness. After whatever phishing process eventually brings a potential victim on the phone with a real person scamster, he or she is almost always aggressive. The sense of urgency is crucial to their plan, which is usually to use scare tactics to induce a payment. Without the fear and pressure, the victims of these scams might be more inclined to think about whether or not the person on the phone’s other end is actually who they claim to be.

The most recent scam from the SSA revolves around a tandem of email and phone phishing techniques. The OIG recently released an alert that criminals were attempting to fraudulently obtain social security numbers, account information, or benefits by not just using robo-callers but emails as well. The digital correspondence typically includes an attached letter that is relatively official-looking but also riddled with typos and misspelled words. Receiving the letter at all is a huge red flag because the SSA does not send personally identifiable information via email. In addition to that, the Federal agency will also not threaten you to force a payment of some kind, promise to increase monthly benefits for a small immediate payment, or require that such a payment must be made with a gift card, prepaid debit card, or internet currency.

Until Next Time,

**Written by Benjamin Derge, Financial Planner. The information has been obtained from sources considered reliable but we do not guarantee that the foregoing material is accurate or complete. Any opinions are those of Benjamin Derge and not necessarily those of RJFS or Raymond James. Links are being provided for information purposes only. Expressions of opinion are as of this date and are subject to change without notice. Raymond James is not affiliated with and does not endorse, authorize, or sponsor any of the listed websites or their respective sponsors.

Social Security Scam Alert