Did you know that scammers like to strike in the months right after tax season? Since tax season ended this year, the Treasury Department and the IRS estimate that victims have lost around $29 million, and that’s just counting what people have lost to phone scams. There are many other scams out there, and these criminals like to target the elderly and people with disabilities. So, is there any way an Oklahoman with disabilities can avoid falling victim to one of these con artists? Only if you know what to watch out for.
What Scams Target People With Disabilities?
- Social Security Scams: Sometimes scammers will impersonate officials from the Social Security Administration. They will tell you that there is a problem with your benefits and that they need personal information or even credit or debit card information to straighten the mess out, but more than likely they are just con-artists looking to steal from you. Government agencies will usually send you notification of a problem in writing, or if they contact you on the phone, they usually try to avoid discussing personal information on the line.
- Debt Scams: Another scam that con-artists use against people with disabilities are debt forgiveness scams. They will tell you that a new program is offering to wipe all your debts clean, and all they need to get the process going is your personal information, but most debt forgiveness programs have very specific rules, and usually don’t erase all your debt. Current government debt forgiveness programs require you to work as a public servant, teacher, or a doctor in low-income areas. Other government programs offer an income-driven repayment plan that will modify your payments to make them more affordable. However, there are no programs to sweep all of your debt away, so be sharp and don’t fall for these scams.
- Tools Of The Trade: In today’s world, scammers are becoming increasingly sophisticated. They have devices that can make their phone numbers look like government numbers, and they have the ability to make their e-mails look official, but there are signs you can look for to identify fake government e-mails and calls. Watch out for misspellings in e-mails, and check the sender’s e-mail address. If the e-mail doesn’t come from a .gov address, contact the SSA right away. Also remember that government officials will not threaten you over the phone with jail time, and they will always offer you the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
A message from the Tulsa disability attorneys at Troutman & Troutman—looking out for Oklahomans with disabilities.