Three scams are aiming for every Social Security recipient.
The American Association of Retired Persons (www.AARP.org) told consumer resource Bottom Line Personal magazine that these are the three most prevalent Social Security scams:
* THE SOCIAL SECURITY "IMPOSTOR." An identity thief contacts you by phone, e-mail or letter. The thief claims to be a Social Security employee double-checking records, asking for personal information like your number or your mother's maiden name. A real Social Security employee will never contact you to ask for that kind of information.
* HIGHER BENEFITS FOR AN UP-FRONT FEE. A scammer guarantees for a modest filing fee, he can score you a larger monthly Social Security check. Nope. It's a scam.
* THE LUMP-SUM SWINDLE. This is when someone claims you qualify for a lump-sum payment to make up for the recent lack of Social Security cost-of-living adjustments. Folks, there is no such thing as a lump-sum cushion for Social Security "COLAS."
Always check with your local Social Security office before taking the bait on one of these scams or contact the Social Security Administration.
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