Social Security Scam Alert
The beginning of the year provides a new opportunity to scam people. Scams that center around the annual updates and renewals of programs and policies like Social Security are one of the most reported to the government. Be sure to advise your patients that if they are in receipt of Social Security or Medicare/Medicaid services, they are likely a target.
Be On the Lookout
The scammer works usually through the telephone or via a fraudulent email. It’s easy enough to disguise caller IDs and email addresses. Without knowing what to look for in a phishing email, the victim clicks on a link assuming it is trustworthy. The criminal caller or message will say that they are calling or inquiring for a variety of different reasons. These may include, but are not limited to, the following:
- They are updating records for the new year
- The recipient is due for a cost-of-living adjustment
- Would the recipient like to add or modify their beneficiaries
- Payment is due or is to be received by the recipient
- Calling to verify that the information on file is correct
- There is an issue with the information that is on file that needs confirming
- A high influx of calls, so they are reaching out proactively
What are some red flags that you can remind them to watch for? The government will not call individuals to discuss their information or for verification. What are some red flags that you can remind them to watch for? They may send texts to alert you of programs and services, but those would not come with a required response. They are simply alerts that are generated to create awareness. Do not click on links in texts or emails.
There may be pressure to respond to inquiries or make payments so as to not lose benefits. This will not happen by the government. Do not respond to anyone that is asking for personal identifying information. And when it comes to recognizing fraudulent emails, there are several signs that can be looked for. Those are referred to as the SLAM method. Verifying the Sender, Links, Attachments, and Message should be the first step in responding to any email or link contained within it. Not clicking on a link and going directly to the government Social Security website is recommended.
Report a Scam
If you or someone that you know is the victim of a scam or has encountered suspect activity, you can report it to the US government via this link. If you have questions on how to protect your healthcare business and patients from cybercriminal activity, HIPAA Secure Now can help!