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Watch out for this Social Security scam

Dear Toni: In April, I received an email stating that I am to receive a $600 increase in my Social Security check.

I have not received that increase or any information by either mail or email explaining what day in June this increase will happen.

Do you know who I should contact at Social Security to have my question answered? — James, Atlanta

Dear James: Reports of a $600 payment increase in June are false. On June 14, Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General announced that this misinformation is spreading, cautioning people to watch out for “persons seeking to gain your personal information for you to receive a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) from SSA.”

The COLA for 2025 will be announced in October. It will begin with your new 2025 Social Security check amount payable in January 2025.

You can view the Scam Alert related to this hoax at SSA.gov.

Social Security Commissioner Martin O’Malley advised Americans not to fall for “this stunt.”

He stated that SSA sends notices to beneficiaries in early December regarding the amount of the next year’s payments. Visit SSA.gov/myaccount to view your COLA online once the adjustment is announced.

Here are a few tips to help protect you against Social Security, Medicare and IRS fraud:

■ Have a safety script by your phone for scam/fraud calls. Tell anyone who asks that you do not give out personal information over the phone. Stick to the script no matter what.

■ For scam/fraud emails, do not open them or reply. Just delete it.

■ Never give your Medicare or Social Security number to strangers who call you on the phone, come knocking on your door or ask for it in an email. Just like you tell your grandkids not to talk with or reply to email from strangers, you need not talk to them either.

■ Do not accept “free” offers in exchange for your Medicare number. Remember, nothing is free. These scammers will have Medicare pay for whatever they are offering, and they will use your Medicare number to pay for it.

Toni King is an author and columnist on Medicare and health insurance issues. If you have a Medicare question, email info@tonisays.com or call 832-519-8664.

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