While many of us are taking time at the end of the year to enjoy our friends and family’s company and goodwill, cybercriminals are using it as an opportunity to scam people. One such opportunity comes with the end-of-year renewal of programs and policies. And Social Security scams are one of the most reported to the government. They target individuals who receive benefits because this demographic can be more vulnerable when it comes to falling for scams.
How They Work
This type of scam is often done via the telephone or email. With the sender information and caller id being easily disguised, the victim may respond thinking it is legitimate. The criminal caller or sender will say that they are calling or inquiring for various reasons. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Updating records for the new year
- They are due for a cost of living adjustment
- The addition or modification of beneficiaries
- Payment due or is to be received
- Verifying the information that is on file
- There is an issue with the information that is on file
Remind your friends, family, and colleagues that the government will not call them for this kind of information or verification. There are red flags that you can remind them to watch for. The sender or caller may indicate that they are reaching out because of upcoming US holidays. The government will not call or change protocol due to any holiday schedule. They legitimately may send texts to alert you of programs and services, but those would not come with a required response. They are simply alerts that are generated to create awareness.
Pressure to respond or make payments is another red flag. Asking for personal identifying information is as well. And when it comes to recognizing fraudulent emails, there are several signs that can be looked for. Those are included in the SLAM method. Verifying the Sender, Links, Attachments, and Message should be the first step in responding to any email or link contained within it.
If you or someone that you know is the victim of a scam or has encountered suspect activity, you can report it to the US government via this link. Breach Secure Now also helps MSPs support their clients through a variety of tools and resources to offset the risk of falling victim to cybercriminal activity. Contact us today to learn more.