SSA has issued a warning about scams related to its office closures, apparently the first—but likely not the last—instance of an agency having to make clearer to the public the impact of that and other steps being taken in response to the Coronavirus.
The scam involves messages stating that due to the closures, the recipient’s benefits have been suspended. “Scammers may then mislead beneficiaries into providing personal information or payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, internet currency, or by mailing cash, to maintain regular benefit payments,” the agency said.
“Social Security employees continue to work. Social Security will not suspend or decrease Social Security benefit payments or Supplemental Security Income payments due to the current COVID-19 pandemic. Any communication you receive that says SSA will do so is a scam, whether you receive it by letter, text, email, or phone call,” it said.
The Justice Department recently announced that it will give high priority to prosecuting scams related to the virus. Agencies most commonly targeted in impersonation scams include the SSA, the IRS, DHS and the FTC.
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