Cybercrimes aimed at older Americans have increased five times since 2014, and all too often, they’re successful. Social Security and retirement account scams can be financially devastating and very difficult to correct, so know how to avoid them. Awareness is crucial – read about these three common scams aimed at retirees.
Social Security Scam
You know to keep your Social Security card and number safe, but criminals are always developing new methods of tricking people. One method is by calling retirees and claiming to be a Social Security Administration employee. The caller might say that your Social Security number has been suspended due to fraudulent activity and ask you to confirm your number, or else they will suspend payments. Other times the caller might claim that the Social Security Administration’s computers are down, and the government needs to confirm your personal information in order to continue sending you payments.
You should also watch out for fraudulent emails asking you to click on a link that could download a virus or ask you to send your Social Security number. Keep in mind that the Social Security administration probably won’t email or call you asking for personal information if there is a problem with your account – they will send you a letter.
Retirement Account Fraud
It’s becoming harder for cybercriminals to get ahold of bank accounts, so some are turning to retirement accounts. And, if your retirement savings have been stolen, there’s no guarantee of getting it back. People may not check their 401(k) balance as often as they check their bank account, so it could take them longer to realize that something is amiss. It often happens through identity theft and sometimes data breaches of major companies like Target and Microsoft. Make a habit of checking your 401(k) account and making sure everything looks correct. Be careful with sensitive information like Social Security numbers and bank account information and consider the third party institution you’re giving this information to and if it will be secure. Opt for multi-factor identification for online accounts.
Fraudsters Posing as Family Members
Cybercriminals may pretend to be calling on behalf of a family member and claim that they’ve been in an accident and need money for a hospital bill. This scam was popular during the height of COVID when family and friends were isolated from each other. Someone posing as a family member contacts someone, saying they have the virus and need money for treatment. This kind of scam can be particularly dangerous since it can cause someone to make a panicked decision without second-guessing it or checking in with the family member first.
Remember that these are just some of the cyber scams out there. We need to work to protect our retirement savings from cyber theft, as well as market downturns and other threats. Click HERE to sign up for a complimentary review to speak to us at Juniper Wealth Management about your retirement concerns, and create a plan to address them.