Scam artists thrive on fear, and the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has not slowed their illegal schemes. They are now using today’s financial uncertainty to trick Social Security beneficiaries into thinking their payments will be suspended unless they provide personal information to the scammer by phone, email or text.
The Social Security Office of the Inspector General has confirmed, however, that beneficiaries will continue to receive scheduled payments during the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any letters, texts, emails or phone calls stating otherwise are a scam.
“The Social Security Administration will not suspend or discontinue your payments due to COVID-19,” said Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I urge anyone who receives a scam request for your personal bank account information to hang up the phone immediately.”
Scam artists have sent letters to Social Security beneficiaries by mail and stated that benefit payments will be canceled unless he or she contacts the phone number identified in the letter. Some of these letters may even include a reference number in order to suggest that the letter is legitimate.
Upon calling the phone number provided, beneficiaries are asked to give personal information or to make a payment with gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency or by mailing cash to ensure social security payments.
To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its fraud hotline at 1-800-269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
The Attorney General’s Office created a page that links to state and federal government resource pages for COVID-19 at ArkansasAG.gov/COVID19. Contact the office with any concerns about scams at (800) 482-8982.