SSA Issues Warnings on Potential "Stimulus" Scams

The Social Security Administration has periodically issued warnings to seniors and disabled individuals regarding potential scams. Recipients of Social Security Disability benefits are the target of many such scams, one of the most recent involving the promise of a sizeable check. This scam involves providing unauthorized parties with information found on the 1099 Social Security form.

The 1099 Social Security form requires a Social Security number, earnings details for several years and other private identifying information. This scam involves requesting Social Security beneficiaries to fill out the form and send it, along with a check for $100, for processing of paperwork that supposedly enables seniors to gain a tax refund or a larger tax refund. The Social Security Administration started issuing warnings in mid-October for individuals requesting 1099 statements to watch out for this scam.

Social Security Disability recipients are constantly warned regarding scams, as the disabled are often prime and easy targets for scammers. Scammers approach Social Security Disability beneficiaries, mainly through telephone calls, alleging to be employees of the Social Security Administration. Such individuals ask for personal information including social security numbers, bank account numbers and other personal and identifying information.

The current "stimulus" scam involves claims by scammers that Social Security Disability beneficiaries are entitled to a "big check", or large payout. One such couple received information from a neighbor that they could get a little over $4,000 in payouts from "help" in preparing their tax return. Because money is tight for many people and was for this couple, they looked into the offer. They were requested to send a $100 check along with their federal 1099 forms. The foundation of the scam is that it offer help with tax preparation and filing that will help Social Security beneficiaries receive additional monies. The scam also designated an end date for the offer, but beneficiaries were unable to find any additional information regarding the offer on websites or through other resources.

The Social Security Administration is asking that all Social Security Disability beneficiaries requesting a copy of their 1099 forms to be aware of this scam and not to divulge personal or financial tax information to anyone claiming to help them prepare their tax forms in order to receive additional funds.

Because of the faltering economy, the eruption of tax, IRS and Social Security Administration benefits scams are popping up around the country. Social Security Disability beneficiaries are cautioned to use common sense and discretion any time additional monies are offered. The FBI and the Social Security Administration, in conjunction with the Internal Revenue Service, encourages individuals to contact local IRS or Social Security Administration offices directly in regard to any such word-of-mouth, mail, or telephone offers of extra tax refunds or Social Security benefits.

The FBI expects all types of stimulus fraud to reach upward of $50 billion this year. Officials determined that up to 10% of federal stimulus dollars would be lost through fraud and scams. In order to protect yourself from fraud, individuals are cautioned to be proactive and do careful research. The Social Security Administration cautions Social Security Disability beneficiaries to never divulge personal information over the phone, through e-mails, websites or in person without verifying the identity of the individual to whom they are "speaking.”