Seniors Beware: Latest Social Security Scam Involves Downloading Malicious Phone App

Confused senior woman having trouble using mobile phone at home. Old woman with white hair sitting on sofa and trying to messaging with smartphone. stock photo
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IRS and Social Security scams have been on the rise recently, exacerbated by using stimulus checks and new IRS rules as excuses to convince people to give up their money.

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Recently, a woman in Naples, Florida reported she was almost scammed on the phone by someone claiming her information was being used to open bank accounts, and that she needed to download a specific app to allow them access to her phone in order to help, ABC reported. The criminals also asked her to move all the money from her bank account into Bitcoin. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are notoriously used for crimes, as their owners and movements are difficult to trace.

Fortunately, although the woman actually went through with it, just before she clicked “send”, a fraud alert popped up warning her of the danger.

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These types of Social Security scams have become so prevalent that the FTC has issued a statement.

“This is happening in your community,” said Monica Vaca, Associate Director of the FTC’s Division of Consumer Response and Operation. “What these scammers are trying to do is they are trying to induce a state of fear. They are trying to make you feel very very panicked” ABC reported.

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Social Security scammers attempt to fraud unassuming seniors by calling them and creating a sense of urgency surrounding “bills that need to be paid” or money owed in general — that in reality does not exist.

Both the IRS and the Social Security Administration will never call you about money owed without prior written notification. This also means that whatever your particular issue might be, the agency contacting you will address it specifically as it is mentioned in the letter personally addressed to you.

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If someone claiming to represent one of these agencies contacts you via telephone out of the blue, it is best simply to hang up and report it to the FTC.

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About the Author

Georgina Tzanetos is a former financial advisor who studied post-industrial capitalist structures at New York University. She has eight years of experience with concentrations in asset management, portfolio management, private client banking, and investment research. Georgina has written for Investopedia and WallStreetMojo. 
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