There are all kinds of scams out there, aiming to steal our credit card numbers, tax refunds, Social Security benefits — and even our identities. Here’s a look at a common Social Security scam and how you can avoid it.
In the old days, you would conduct your Social Security business with its employees — over the phone or in person at one of the many local offices. Today, though, retirees and near-retirees are encouraged to go online for many of their Social Security needs. The Social Security Administration (SSA) now promotes its “my Social Security” site at ssa.gov. After you create an account there, you can review the SSA’s record of your past earnings to make sure they’re correct, request replacement Social Security or Medicare cards, change your address, get a replacement SSA-1099 or SSA-1042S form for tax purposes, see an estimate of your future benefits based on your earnings record and more. (The SSA used to regularly mail out estimates of future benefits to most workers, but now only sends them to a more restricted group.)
You can also apply at the SSA website to start receiving your Social Security benefits. The problem is, someone else might be able to start receiving your benefits — if they set up an account there in your name before you do. That can happen if you fall for a fraudulent email or phone call telling you that you need to provide some personal information, such as your Social Security number and birth date. Be skeptical of any emails or calls asking for personal information. If in doubt, contact the SSA on your own to verify.
By creating your own account, you can prevent anyone else from doing so. Note that you are supposed to create an account for yourself only and should not create one for anyone else. (This is a rule that the scammers break.) Get many more retirement tips online at SeniorQuote’s social media pages.
Article edited from the Original
Article Taken from Motley Fool column in the Union, business section, page 2, August 5th