CT BBB Alert About Cost of Living Adjustment Scams


CROMWELL, Conn. - Scammers are taking notice of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of Social Security benefits and Supplementary Security Income (SSI). It’s a significant increase – the highest COLA approved in more than 40 years. 
Scammers have contacted victims by phone, text, or email pretending to be a “Social Security Administration (SSA) representative," claiming to their targets that they must apply for their cost-of-living increase. Victims are asked to visit a website, send information via text or email, or speak with the scammer on the phone to get the benefit. These con artists often ask their victims to verify their identity by sharing personal details, such as their full name, address, or Social Security number. They may even ask for their bank account information, claiming that the representative will deposit the extra money directly into their account.
Giving this information to a scammer gives them access to a victim's most sensitive personal information and makes them susceptible to identity theft. If a person gives up their banking information, a bad actor may gain access to their money.
How to avoid Social Security scams
  • Remember, the SSA’s COLA is automatic. You don’t need to do anything to receive the increase in benefits. If someone tells you otherwise, you’re likely dealing with a scammer.
  • Know how the SSA communicates. According to SSA, “If there is a problem with your Social Security number, we will mail you a letter. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us.” A call, text, or email from an SSA agent out of the blue is a red flag.
  • Don’t give in to threats. SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action. They will never suspend your Social Security number or demand payment from you. They will never ask for personal information or banking details to give you an increase in benefits. If someone demands these things or threatens you over the phone, they are not with SSA.
  • When in doubt, hang up. If you suspect you might be getting scammed, stop all communications. Visit Medicare.gov to research or call 1-800-MEDICARE to confirm that the correspondence is legitimate before taking action.
For more information
If you spot a scam, report it to BBB.org/ScamTracker and to https://oig.ssa.gov/report. Reports like yours help save others from falling victim to a scam.


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