Social security disability benefits from the government have been a great source of relief for both disabled workers who have been unemployed for years, and low-income citizens with impairments, but have also been targeted by scammers around the globe. Learn how to avoid scams by protecting the supplemental income or insurance that you have been receiving from disability programs governed by the Social Security Administration (SSA).
Scammers’ Modus Operandi
Your benefits can be stolen through the illegal acquisition of your personal information and account details. This is most commonly done by phone, where someone will impersonate an employee from Social Security to obtain details from the recipient of disability benefits. The imposter agent would then “verify” your social security number, date of birth, and bank information. Once the thief has these details, he will then call the SSA, pretending to be a victim of a scam, and requesting to change his bank deposit number.
Another operation done is to offer to file a disability benefits application on behalf of someone who wishes to avoid going through the application process on his own. Yet another method for identity theft is by sending fraudulent text messages or emails disguised as official correspondence from SSA, and asking recipients to call a certain number to receive information about claiming disability insurance or hearing updates. In exchange, they need to provide personal information.
Protocols to Avoid Being Victimized
Most of the time, victims do not realize they are being deceived until they fail to receive a number of insurance payouts. To avoid getting into this stage, make sure to follow the safety protocols listed below.
- Never divulge personal information over the phone. The SSA never requests sensitive account information by phone from SSD recipients. Regardless of whether the call is from Social Security or another government agency, it is a best practice to never give any details when you are not speaking with the agent directly.
- Report any suspicious activity. If you are concerned that your payments are being stolen or diverted, immediately inform the SSA. It is also highly recommended to contact a social security disability attorney near you to advise you about the matter.
- Send payment or refunds through a secure channel. In some instances, the SSA may overpay one for disability compensation and sends an official letter to request the return of funds. A scammer may also create a mock-up of the letter. Never send any payments using prepaid credit cards or direct deposit to an unverified account. If you are indeed due to return overpaid benefits, the SSA shall request it through check or deductions in future monthly payments.
- Create a Social Security Online Account. The SSA has an online portal that allows users to view their earnings, edit electronic payment methods, update their benefits information, and estimate future amounts they can receive. By signing up for an account, you prevent posers from creating a profile under your name and diverting your SSD benefits to their personal bank account.
- Keep track of your disability benefit statements. Whether online or in print form, enforce a system to keep track of all payments that you receive so that you’ll be alerted once there’s been a change in the regular amount you receive or in your schedule for payouts.
Don’t let yourself fall victim to any of the profiteering disability benefit scammers. Disability attorneys can help you not only with social security benefits application and contestation but also in instances of suspected theft or scamming. Get in touch with an experienced social security attorney, such as those from Farmer & Wright, PPLC. Call us at 270-214- to discuss your SSD claims.