Recently, the Social Security Administration announced that they are taking action in an attempt to crack down on Social Security fraud. With the biggest Social Security day of the year, October 11, fast approaching, where Social Security beneficiaries find out how much, if any, of a “raise” they are going to get for the year. Anyone can fall victim to Social Security fraud, including retirees who rely on their benefits to pay the bills, and who are anxiously awaiting the October 11th announcement. This is why it is increasingly important to stay proactive, learn about potential scams that are going on, and take the following precautions to help protect yourself from falling victim to Social Security fraud.
Protecting your Social Security number by keeping your Social Security card safe is an important first step in being proactive. If a criminal gets ahold of your Social Security number, they may gain access to your benefits and even your identity. Therefore, it is important to store your card in a secure location and never carry it around with you. Also, dispose of any documents that contain your Social Security number properly, using a shredder if possible.
Next, never give out your Social Security number over phone, internet or mail if unsolicited. Make sure you know who is getting your information and that they are safeguarding it as well. If you do receive a call or email with someone asking for your information, contact the SSA for advice and tell them you suspect fraud. This could help protect others from potential crimes and minimize damage.
For those retirees who are already collecting Social Security, make sure that you are familiar with the payment schedule. This way, if a payment doesn’t come through when it’s supposed to, you can report it right away and ensure that your money is safe. For those who have not yet started collecting their Social Security, it’s a little harder to monitor. However, if a thief gets ahold of your information, they may file for benefits on your behalf and direct the payments to their own accounts. One way to help avoid this happening is to create an online Social Security account so you’ll know if anything goes wrong. Staying on top of your accounts can help you start your retirement off on the right foot.
You have been paying into Social Security your whole working life, now is the time to make sure that you get all that you’re entitled to by taking these steps to protect yourself from Social Security fraud and scheduling a meeting with your trusted financial advisor. At O’Donnell Financial Group, we will work with you to capitalize on your strengths and fill in your weak points with a strategy that takes all possibilities into account. Click here to visit us online today and schedule your complimentary financial review.