Open enrollment season for Medicare begins October 15, 2014. This is a time when our senior clients can review their Medicare plans and can make changes if desired. Unfortunately, it is also another opportunity for scam artists to take advantage of the unsuspecting senior.
Here’s how it works: you will receive a phone call from a person identifying themselves as an employee of the Social Security Administration. The caller will tell you that they need to update your information in their files so that you can continue to receive your Medicare benefits. They will ask for things like your driver’s license number and your social security number.
The goal of the caller is to obtain sufficient information so that they can open a fraudulent “my Social Security” account – which is the online account opened on the SSA.gov website. Once they have opened an online account, they will then reroute the direct-deposit social security benefits to a bank account that they control. They can also use the same information to open other financial accounts in your name.
A second scheme involving involves emails from the Social Security Administration claiming that you are eligible for a new benefit. The email directs you to a site where you can complete an online form. Similar information is requested, and you will even get a confirmation page showing that your information has been submitted successfully and you will be contacted later with the status of your claim.
The Social Security Administration warns:
- They will not contact you by phone or email to request information that is already on file with their agency.
- They will contact you first with Official Correspondence via U.S. mail.
If you feel like you have become a victim of one of these two schemes, or you receive notification that a “my Social Security” account was set up of which you are unaware, please call the Social Security Administration at 800-772-1213.
Article Written By Reba Rogers. Reba Rogers, CPA, is the founder of CPA Secure Aging, a group of care managers who preserve the independence and protect the assets of seniors by helping them with financial management.