This summer, the Social Security Administration (SSA) issued a warning for seniors with dementia and their loved ones to watch out for scams that may target them. These scam artists recognize the vulnerability of people with dementia, and may take advantage of them by trying to steal their money or Social Security benefits. By taking certain precautions, you can help protect your loved ones from fraud and other forms of financial exploitation, keeping their money for themselves.
What is This Warning About?
This warning by the SSA is meant to address the sadly persistent problem of seniors with dementia (as well as other Social Security recipients suffering from disabilities that impair their cognitive ability) being targeted by scam artists. These scammers will often pose as loved ones, requesting money, gift cards, or personal information, taking advantage of their victims’ medical problems to enrich themselves. As a result of these types of scams, many seniors with dementia lose thousands of dollars, which can be disastrous on a fixed income.
Why Did the SSA Issue This Warning?
This warning was issued as part of the SSA’s ongoing battle against fraud, particularly fraud that targets Social Security recipients. While this issue primarily affects seniors, anyone who has a significant disability who receives SSDI or SSI benefits may also be targeted by scammers looking to take their money. The SSA hopes that this can help to combat fraud by raising awareness of the potential risks.
What Do Social Security Scams Look Like?
Typically, Social Security scams involve someone emailing or calling a potential victim, claiming to represent the SSA or another government agency. They will make false claims to incite worry in victims, such as by claiming that their benefits are risking suspension or that they will not be able to receive a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) unless they comply with the scammer’s demands. They will then convince the person to send them money or gift cards, or demand personal identifying information that can be used to financially benefit themselves at their victim’s expense.
What Can You Do to Avoid Being Scammed?
If you want to protect yourself or your loved one from a Social Security scam, you can take measures to prevent unauthorized transfers of money, such as putting limits on credit card spending and setting up auto-pay for important bills. You can also watch your loved one for signs of financial exploitation, such as unpaid bills, unexplained expenses on credit card bills, or unusually large cash withdrawals. If you believe your loved one has been exploited by a Social Security scam artist, you should report it to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General.
If you or a loved one need assistance applying for SSDI or SSI benefits, it is important that you seek the guidance of an experienced Social Security Disability benefits lawyer. The lawyers at Sullivan & Kehoe, LLP have over 50 years of combined experience between its attorneys and are available to you or your loved one in obtaining Social Security Disability or Supplemental Security Income benefits. To schedule a consultation with our New York Social Security Disability benefits lawyers, call (631) 823-7155.