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It’s no secret that scams are a major part of the world we live in now. For instance, in November I was a victim of the Target Data Breach, and all I did was go shopping. Electronic scams are more and more prevalent, and those individuals masterminding these things tend to target specific groups of people. Social Security recipients are one group of people that are targeted often. It does not mean that you have to live in fear of the internet, just prepare yourself.
Recently the SSA posted a message on Twitter warning individuals about receiving emails from people asking them to reply with a date of birth and a social security number. No one from social security will email you asking for this information or asking for other personal information. They do state on their website that you should call your local office if something like this occurs. Do not reply to the email though.
It doesn’t stop with emails though. As someone who works in social media, I’ve learned a few things over the years that I will share with you now.
Facebook is a fun way to stay connected with people, but it also allows us to let our guard down easily. On Facebook you can stay safe. For one keeping your account private can keep unlawful people from getting your information. You do have to adjust these settings from time to time though because when Facebook does an update, your settings are often reset. As a rule of thumb, it’s smart to check at least once a month to make sure your account is still private.
Also, when it comes to Facebook, Twitter, or any social media site, it’s smart to only accept friend requests from individuals you know, and trust. For instance, if you receive a friend request from someone without a picture, or who has a name you have never heard of before, then it’s a good idea to decline that request.
I personally love following athletes and celebrities on Twitter, but these people can cause a problem too. For example, if you search for someone like Jennifer Lawrence on Twitter, you will find a bunch of accounts on Twitter for her, but none of them are real. She is not on Twitter. Real celebrity accounts will usually have a blue check mark by their name to show that they are valid.
There are other ways to stay safe online too. When it comes to shopping, only purchase from reputable retailers like Amazon and eBay. Also, “secured” websites are the best option when transferring money from a bank account, or debit card.
Finally, I suggest refraining from posting your location online. It’s never a good idea to state when you are going on vacation or when you are going to be away from your house for a few hours.
There are tons of ways to stay safe online, and often times using common sense will get you really far.
If you would like to learn about what services we offer for social security clients, or would like a free consultation, give us a call today. 1-877-526-3457. If you are busy right now, click here to tell us about your case, and we will get in touch with you.
Jan Dils, Attorneys at Law