The Phone Scam

Today’s topic addresses a vulnerability of our Social Security Benefit eligible beneficiaries: The phone scam.

There’s likely many variations of this type of thing so keep an open mind as you read this story that just recently happened to a colleague’s parents:

“My mom received a call on Friday from the “Social Security Administration” (they knew her name) to tell her the monthly benefit was increasing – we just need the information from your bank account to deposit directly into it – my mom went all in and gave all the info including routing number and account number. My dad was able to see the scam and within one hour they had gone to their bank to get a new account, checks, cancel all payments etc. When a few days later I asked my Mom, why did you give them your bank information she stated; they sounded official!”

Fortunately, this instance did not result in a loss for our colleague’s parents but no doubt thousands of SSA beneficiaries have been victims of these types of crimes. How to prevent or protect from these scams?

  • The beneficiaries can be told that no one but a trusted advisor can talk money with them
  • Their regular activity bank accounts should be kept at minimal needed balances
  • Daily or every few days check ins with beneficiaries to make sure all is well and their physical, emotional and financial states are steady
  • Know that as the years go by this population grows more vulnerable as infirmities and aging make alertness and understanding harder to maintain

Keep an eye on the vulnerable populations we know and interact with. They may not be victims of cybercrime because they eschew technology; they may not feel threatened from physical crime because they live in a protected space; but they are always susceptible to phone and mail and in person fraud.