Protect Your Finances: Americans Fall Victim to $100 Million in Social Security Scams


How Seniors Can Protect Themselves from Social Security Scams

More than $100 million is lost each year due to Social Security scams, new figures from the Federal Trade Commission show. Already in 2023, the FTC has received reports of 164,413 government imposter scams, with social security scams being the most common of all. The Social Security Administration saw 38,852 reports, with a total of $101.58 million lost to government-impersonating fraudsters. According to Drew Powers, the founder of Powers Financial Group, and a registered investment advisor in Naperville, Illinois, this likely doesn’t fully reflect the true prevalence of scams affecting seniors. “Elder financial abuse is a huge problem,” Powers told Newsweek. “Whatever the reported figure may be, the actual figure is likely much higher.”

Senior citizens are at an increased risk of losing money to Social Security schemes.
Photo by Tim Boyle/Getty Images

How AI Could Affect Social Security Scams

Artificial intelligence poses a grave risk to seniors as they reach Social Security eligibility age, experts say. The advancement of AI is already worsening the situation for seniors, who have historically dealt with an onslaught of attacks by scammers looking to take advantage of their government benefits. “Seniors are at high risk for identity theft and fraud. The FBI’s most recent Internet Crime Report shows that Americans over 60 lost $1.7 billion to fraud last year, the highest loss amount reported out of any age group,” says Hari Ravichandran, CEO and founder of online safety company Aura. “Scammers are getting more and more sophisticated in how they use AI to impersonate voices and caller IDs, websites and emails, pretending to be trusted authorities and our loved ones – making this risk grow even more acute and urgent.”

Scams Follow the Same Pattern

Seniors can protect themselves by recognizing those patterns. “All scams follow the same patterns. An urgent opportunity or an urgent emergency, both triggering panic in the victim,” Powers said. “The best advice for seniors is to take a step back, compose themselves out of panic mode, and then take all possible steps to confirm the opportunity or emergency with others.”

Some of these advanced scams are indicative of the digital age, routinely popping up on platforms like TikTok. “The social media site is home to many fraud techniques such as celebrity impersonation scams, investment scams, fake giveaways and more,” says Raj Dasgupta, the senior director of global advisory at BioCatch. “Since those who have Social Security are likely to be retired, they may not have a steady source of income and may be eager to indulge in the false opportunity in hopes of improving their financial situation, which may lead to the opposite after falling for scams like this one.”

How To Avoid Scams

Luckily, despite the growing capabilities of AI, there are still foolproof ways to avoid getting your Social Security payments taken away. “Beware of schemes that sound too good to be true,” Dasgupta said. “Don’t click links. Instead, go straight to the source and connect with that authority independently.”

You should also stay cautious if someone asks you to tell them your personal information over the phone, as this is almost always a red flag, Dasgupta said. There are also ways to look out for identity theft, including by checking your credit report on a regular basis on sites like “If you don’t recognize an account on your report, you might have been a victim of identity theft,” Dasgupta said.

Uncommon Knowledge

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.

Newsweek is committed to challenging conventional wisdom and finding connections in the search for common ground.


Micheal Kurt

I earned a bachelor's degree in exercise and sport science from Oregon State University. He is an avid sports lover who enjoys tennis, football, and a variety of other activities. He is from Tucson, Arizona, and is a huge Cardinals supporter.

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