The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is warning District consumers to be on the alert for Social Security Administration (SSA) and Medicare scams.
Social Security and Medicare Scams
It’s tax season, and scammers are impersonating personnel from the SSA and other government agencies to gain trust, trick people into giving them personal information and money, or download malware onto devices. Scammers also may call or send deceptive text messages or emails to lure recipients to fake website.
Some scams involve bogus Medicare representatives, fake rebates, and fake Social Security number or account problems. Scammers may promise supplemental insurance at a cheap price, a big refund, or free medical equipment. But regardless of the approach, they must get your personal information to succeed. Note that Medicare will never call and ask for a beneficiary’s Medicare or Social Security information.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, 12,261 fraud and other reports were filed in Washington, DC in 2022. Of those reports, 14% involved imposter and benefits fraud that included Medicare and Social Security scams. The total fraud losses exceeded $18 million. Many more losses went unreported.
If you suspect that you are a victim of a Social Security or Medicare scam:
- Stop and discontinue all communications with the scammer.
- Protect your personal information. Be cautious of anyone claiming to be from a government or law enforcement agency who tells you about a problem you don’t recognize, even if the caller has some of your personal information. Don’t be fooled by letterheads or pictures of badges.
- Secure your accounts. Set up two-factor authentication on banking and credit card accounts and apps so that even if your passwords or account numbers are compromised, a thief will also need your smartphone to access them.
If you are the victim of a Social Security or Medicare scam, report it to:
- DISB Enforcement and Consumer Protection Division at (202) 727-8000.
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3.gov) or call the FBI Washington Field Office at (202) 278-2000.
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – Report Fraud.ftc.gov.
Our mission is three-fold: (1) cultivate a regulatory environment that protects consumers and attracts and retains financial services firms to the District; (2) empower and educate residents and (3) support the development and expansion of business.