CHICAGO (WLS) -- Social Security benefits are set to increase due to inflation and now scammers are flooding phone lines claiming to help people get Social Security money.
The goal for the criminals is to get your personal information. They want your birthdate, Social Security number and anything else to steal your identity. Agents from the Social Security Administration warn you should be on high alert. One potential victim recorded a call so you can know what to watch out for.
"What I am hoping for now is that you qualify, that's what I am wishing for," the scammer says on the call.
The scammer is trying to get personal information from Mary Jo Cain-Reis after offering to help her cash in on Social Security money. But Cain-Reis doesn't qualify for the social security, and she is not in need of Social Security disability either.
"She had the nerve to ask me for my social security number, my date of birth, my weight, my height. Where do I live? I mean, all these questions, what do I do for a living?" Cain-Reis said.
"I need to collect personal information from you, Mary, can I have your social?" the scammer tells her.
Cain-Reis said she records these types of calls to help protect others from falling victim.
"What's the city and state you were born?" the scam artist asks.
And for obvious reasons, she gave the caller false information.
"Alright ma'am, congratulations you're qualified to apply for SSDI benefits," the scammer tells her.
"Awesome," Cain-Reis replies.
Cain-Reis said she can understand why someone would fall for the scam.
"They sound honest. They sometimes they sound innocent," she said.
The Social Security Office of the Inspector General said there are third-party firms that can help you obtain Social Security disability benefits, however you would contact them after researching. If you get a call out-of-the blue, like Cain-Reis did, the person is likely trying to scam you.
"Your Social Security number, your data, birth, your address, your name, your mother's maiden name, all those things that you would need to set up an account a bank account that the bad guys could use to set up a bank account," explains
Special Agent at the Office of the Inspector General, Anthony Monaco. He said his office gets 7,000 to10,000 complaints a month about many types of Social Security scam calls. News of Social Security "cost of living adjustment," also known as COLA, has only made scams worse.
"Scams are on the rise, and we're seeing very tricky, very convincing COLA scams that are coming out in different kind of permutations," Monaco said. "That that we're seeing come through our website or through, You know, reports from our law enforcement partners."
Monaco added to beware of calls, letters and texts claiming to help you get that cost of living increase. You don't have to do anything to get that raise in benefits. It will happen automatically by January of 2023.
"It was just unbelievable. And I believe that if they're doing this to me for doing it to millions of other people, unsuspecting people," said Cain-Reis.
If you get a call like this the best thing to do is hang up. You can report the number to Social Security investigators.
Experts say you should also set up a MySocialSecurity account so you can see your statement and find out how much your cost of living increase will be.