A new scam that's targeting seniors claims they have to apply for the bump in Social Security benefits that's just been approved.

What Do You Mean By a Bump in Benefits?

This should be a happy time for Maine's seniors after the Social Security Administration approved the largest cost-of-living increase to their benefits in more than 40 years. Due to inflation, it was determined that the adjustment would total up to 8.7% this year. For people on a fixed income, this will help make up for the fact that the price of everything is skyrocketing right now.

How Are Scammers Trying To Take It?

But, of course, there are scam artists waiting on the sidelines, ready to take advantage of Social Security recipients' good news. And the way they're going about it is very sneaky. According to the Better Business Bureau, many seniors in Maine are receiving emails, phone calls, or text messages that look like they're legitimately from the Social Security Administration. In the message, they're told that they will need to apply for an increase in their benefits. Then it will usually tell them to visit a website or call a number to fill out the required information, which will include things like their full name, their address, their Social Security number, and possibly even their banking information. The scammers justify this by claiming that it will enable them to deposit the money directly into their accounts. Once the crooks have that information, victims will be susceptible to identity theft and/or lose their money. And once it's gone, it's unlikely police will be able to get it back.

What Do We Do If We Receive One Of These Communications?

The Social Security Administration wants all recipients to know that the adjustment is automatic and they do not have to apply for it. If there's a problem with your SSA account, the administration will generally send you a letter. Any call, text, or email out of the blue is a big red flag and should be ignored. They also want to reassure SSA recipients that they will never threaten or ask for personal information or banking details. Anyone doing so is not with the Social Security Administration. And finally, if you think you're being scammed, end all communication. Hang up the phone or log out of the website. Either visit the Medicare website or call them at 1-800-MEDICARE to confirm that the communication is legitimate before taking any action.

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