Financial fraud in the United States has grown at a rate that continues to alarm consumer protection agencies. While various scams target people from all educational and socioeconomic backgrounds, a significant number of crimes involve older citizens who are already at a greater risk of financial abuse in general. Each year new types of fraud are reported as criminals constantly create new scams to replace those that have become widely recognized. One method in particular has become prevalent throughout California, and knowing how to recognize the latest scam targeting social security recipients can help you protect yourself and your loved ones from serious financial harm.

The Scheme

California is home to millions of people who receive Social Security benefits each month.  Recipients are entitled to an annual adjustment that reflects the increased cost-of living change in their area. In recent years these increases have been low, creating frustration among social security recipients who feel the annual raises do not adequately reflect the true rise in the cost of living throughout California. The latest financial scam plays on these frustrations by calling Social Security recipients from a local California number saying that they are entitled to a 1.7% cost of living adjustment that in actuality is five times greater than the adjustment most expect to receive.

How to Spot It

People claiming to represent the Social Security Administration (SSA) will call their victims from a number with a 323 area code to inform them of the supposed increase. In order to qualify for the supposed increase, the victim is asked to verify their personal information. The questions are often the primary indicators that the call is fraudulent. Employees of the SSA may call citizens to assist them, but personal information such as social security numbers, bank account numbers, etc. is never requested over the telephone.

Protect Yourself

The best way to protect yourself from these types of financial scams is to avoid providing personal information on telephone calls that you did not initiate yourself. Even if you have placed a call to one of the SSA’s toll free numbers, representatives will understand if you are not comfortable providing certain details over the phone. Questioning anything that seems suspicious or too good to be true can increase your chances of avoiding financial fraud. If you believe you have been contacted by someone who is suspicious, never hesitate to report your concerns to the Office of the Inspector General.

Contact an Expert

After a lifetime of hard work and sacrifice, it is important to protect yourself from those who want to steal your security. Having the right estate and financial plan in place that guards your resources for your beneficiaries would be a way to reduce the chances of a scammer draining your accounts. MMZ Law strives to provide our clients with the service they need based on their unique situations. Our team is dedicated to protecting your financial future and that of your heirs. Contact our conveniently located Claremont, California office at (909) 256-6702 to schedule a FREE consultation.

*We service Elder Law through Medi-Cal Asset Protection Planning



341 W. 1st St. Suite 100
Claremont, CA 91711

MARIVEL M. ZIALCITA is the founder of MMZ LAW, A Professional Corporation, where she practices in the areas of Elder Law – Medi-Cal Planning Asset Protection, Trust & Estate, Special Needs, Conservatorship, Trust Administration, & Probate. Ms. Zialcita is a frequent speaker on trust and estate matters and holds memberships in the State Bar of California, Trust and Estate Section, The San Bernardino County Bar Association, Wealth Counsel and Elder Counsel. She currently assists in the pro bono legal services program at the James L. Brulte Senior Center in Rancho Cucamonga, California. She is based in Claremont but assists clients throughout Southern California.

This information is educational information only and not legal advice.