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Beware of Social Security cost-of-living adjustment scams

Scammers will call, text, or send an email that appears to come from an SSA representative, saying you "must apply” for the cost-of-living adjustment, the BBB said.

MAINE, USA — The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning all social security recipients about scammers using the historic cost-of-living increase to steal your personal information.

Due to inflation, the Social Security Administration (SSA) approved the highest cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for recipients of Social Security benefits and Supplementary Security Income (SSI) in more than 40 years, at an increase of 8.7 percent. 

The BBB claims scammers are reportedly taking advantage of this, according to a news release from the BBB on Saturday.

The scammers may call, text, or send an email that appears to come from a Social Security Administration representative telling you that you “must apply” for your cost-of-living increase, the BBB said. 

The scammer will then reportedly ask you to verify personal information, such as your full name, address, Social Security number, or banking information.

They may also ask you to visit a website that will prompt you to enter personal information.

According to the BBB, here are ways to avoid the scams:

  • SSA’s cost-of-living increase is automatic: You don’t need to do anything to receive the increase in benefits.
  • SSA communicates via mail: According to SSA, “If there is a problem with your Social Security number, we will mail you a letter."
  • SSA never threatens recipients: SSA will never threaten you with arrest or legal action. It will also never suspend your Social Security number or demand payment from you. 

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