What’s the biggest fraud facing seniors today? A scam in which callers attempt to trick them into giving them money or handing over their Social Security numbers.
Senators said Wednesday that Americans reported losing close to $38 million last year to this Social Security scam, which they said is a relatively new scheme targeting seniors that has grown at an alarming rate.
Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Bob Casey, D-Pa., chairman and ranking member of the Senate Aging Committee, stated at the Wednesday hearing, titled “That’s Not the Government Calling: Protecting Seniors from the Social Security Impersonation Scam,” that the Social Security Scam has become the most-reported fraud to the Federal Trade Commission and the Aging Committee’s Fraud Hotline.
The Social Security Administration launched a new public service announcement campaign on Jan. 21 to warn people about the ongoing nationwide telephone impersonation scheme.
The scammers mislead victims into making cash or gift card payments for help with purported identity theft, or to avoid arrest for bogus Social Security number problems, according to SSA.
“To be clear, the scams we are discussing today are not Social Security program fraud,” Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul told the committee in his Wednesday testimony. “Rather, they are schemes to trick people into thinking a credible organization — a bank, a utility company, a credit card company or the government, including SSA — is calling so that they give up their personal information, pay money or both.”