Scammers are always busy trying different tactics to get to your wallet. During holidays is no different. Bad actors use the holidays and people’s goodwill to fool them into giving. Be careful of offers that are too good to be true, and only shop on reputable sites. Some emails look legitimate, and you must look closely at them to see that they are not. First look at the “from” email address, not just the name from whom it is coming from. The difference may be as subtle as a “.” in between the name or website address. Secondly you can view the message details and from there find where the email IP address originated from. In Outlook, click the three “…” in the upper right corner of the message, scroll down to “view”, then “view message details”. There are many IP lookup sites on the internet. Many of these scams are generated from overseas. As always, do not click on links in emails. Open your browser and search for the site or product from there.
Another method criminal target is through texts messages or voice mails. Again, do not click on links or call the number they send. Look it up! If it appears to be from your bank, call your bank. If it appears it is from your credit card company, call your card company. Our phones now are directly linked to our personal information and can be hacked as well.
The Social Security Administration warns people that fraudsters are calling/texting and asking people to verify information to receive the 2023 cost-of-living increase for people who receive benefits. The increase is automatic and does not need to be verified. Please advise everyone you know that receive these benefits, especially the elderly who fall for these scams. Remind them, scammers typically say there is a problem with their account (social security, missed jury notice, credit card, etc.) and will try to pressure them to act immediately. Then you must pay in a specific manner, and sometimes will want to remain on the line while making the transaction. Even if this means driving to a store to buy gift cards.
If you receive a questionable call, text, or email, hang up or don’t respond and report it at oig.ssa.gov/report. Scammers frequently change their methods with new tactics and messages to trick people. Stay up to date on the latest news and advisories by following SSA’s Office of the Inspector General on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook or subscribing to receive email alerts.
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