How to Protect Yourself Against a Social Security Scam

Do you know what to do if you fall victim to a Social Security scam? In the Retirement Headlines segment, we’ll discuss a recent Market Watch article that shares some excellent tips for protecting yourself against social security scams and advice on how to minimize the damage if you fall victim to one. But before we get to that we’ll start a new kind of segment in addition to the retirement headlines. This is the first episode in which we look at some case studies. We have a lot of information to help you gather information to prepare you for retirement. 

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Outline of This Episode

  • [1:42] Our first case study
  • [6:48] A pension buyout offer
  • [10:24] Social security scams
  • [14:29] Can my Social Security number be suspended?

To sell or not to sell the farmland?

Our first case study regards a question about selling farmland. Recently I received a call from a person that was looking for advice about whether she should sell some farmland that she owns. She sees this farmland as part of her retirement investment portfolio and feels no sentimental attachment toward the land. Her current long-time renter is looking to purchase the land for $800,000. The current annual cash flow that the land brings in is $20,000. 

There are 2 things you should consider when faced with a similar situation. First, evaluate the opportunity cost. What kind of dividend is the land paying? What does owning the land cost you? You should also consider any sentimental attachment you may have on the property. Is it enough to justify a subpar return on investment? Listen in to find out what I think she should do.

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Should you accept a pension buyout offer?

I recently chatted with a client that received a pension buyout offer. He has been retired for 10 years and has been receiving a pension during that time. He receives about $2500 a month from the pension. The buyout offer was a lump sum of $325,000. If he took the offer it could be rolled into an IRA. The lump-sum payment would be taxed, but if he put it into an IRA the taxes could be deferred. What do you think he should do? What would you do in this case? Discover what I think he should do by listening to episode 104 of Retirement Starts Today Radio.

Got tricked by Social Security scam? Here’s what to do

We all think that we’ll never be fooled by scammers, but it does happen. There wouldn’t be scammers out there if people didn’t fall victim to scams. If you do get tricked by scammers there are things you can do to minimize the damage. The first thing you should do is check your credit reports to ensure that there is nothing amiss with your accounts. You are entitled to a free credit report each year from each of the major credit agencies. Next, you can consider putting a fraud alert on your credit file. This will last for 90 days and it lets potential creditors know that they should take extra steps to verify your identity when processing a credit application. 

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How can you ensure that you don’t fall for a Social Security scam?

Oftentimes scammers will call you and say that there has been unusual activity on your Social Security number. Sometimes they will say it has been suspended. Your Social Security number will never be suspended. This is a common phone scam in which people will ask you questions to gain personal information including your Social Security Number. Remember to never divulge this information over the phone. On occasion, the Social Security Administration may call you. However, if they do you can ask the representative for their extension and then call them back at the Social Security Administration customer service phone line at 1-800-772-1213. From this number, you can dial their extension and you should be able to reach the agent if they are a legitimate Social Security Representative. Remember, the Social Security Administration will never demand money from you!

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