Social Security COLA 2023 Notice: Why It’s Important (and How Scammers Will Take Advantage)

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Most Social Security recipients are probably aware by now that they’ll be getting an 8.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) in 2023 — the highest in more than 40 years. The COLA is based on this year’s skyrocketing inflation rate and will boost the average Social Security payment in 2023 by more than $140 a month.

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COLA notices are now available online to most beneficiaries by visiting the Message Center of their my Social Security account, according to the Social Security Administration. This is the most secure and convenient way to get COLA notices online and save messages for later.

The SSA will also mail COLA notices throughout December. You’ll want to hold on to the notice because it includes important information about your new benefit amount. If you don’t receive it, check with family members or others to make sure they didn’t get it instead. The SSA advises that you wait until January to contact the agency about the mailed notice if you haven’t seen it yet.

One thing to keep in mind is that there are only two ways you will get notices about your 2023 COLA: online through your my Social Security account, or through the mail in an official document. As the SSA states on its website, no government agency or reputable company will solicit your COLA or other personal information, or request advance fees for services.

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If you get a text, phone call or email from someone claiming to be from the SSA and requesting your personal information, you can be pretty sure it’s scam. As GOBankingRates reported in a recent article about Social Security scams, experts say don’t give out your information and don’t click suspicious links or open suspicious attachments.

The holidays are a particularly ripe time for government imposter scams, and many of the scams involve the new cost-of-living increases. In one such scam, victims are directed to a fake my Social Security account website, WMAR in Baltimore reported.

This was the case with a recent scam uncovered by A.J. Monaco, a special agent in charge with the Major Case Unit Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General.

“What we saw recently … is a very good copy of that website but just misdirected somewhere,” Monaco told WMAR. “It wasn’t to the SSA, so if you didn’t know better, it’s an exact copy.”

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Victims who put their information on the fake website could soon find that their bank and other financial accounts are compromised.

“They will liquidate their savings because they believe what they’re doing is required by their government,” Monaco said.

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To learn more about phishing and other Social Security scams, visit the SSA’s Security and Protection page.

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About the Author

Vance Cariaga is a London-based writer, editor and journalist who previously held staff positions at Investor’s Business Daily, The Charlotte Business Journal and The Charlotte Observer. His work also appeared in Charlotte Magazine, Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal and Business North Carolina magazine. He holds a B.A. in English from Appalachian State University and studied journalism at the University of South Carolina. His reporting earned awards from the North Carolina Press Association, the Green Eyeshade Awards and AlterNet. In addition to journalism, he has worked in banking, accounting and restaurant management. A native of North Carolina who also writes fiction, Vance’s short story, “Saint Christopher,” placed second in the 2019 Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. Two of his short stories appear in With One Eye on the Cows, an anthology published by Ad Hoc Fiction in 2019. His debut novel, Voodoo Hideaway, was published in 2021 by Atmosphere Press.
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