Many companies featured on Money advertise with us. Opinions are our own, but compensation and
in-depth research may determine where and how companies appear. Learn more about how we make money.

Photo Collage of a Social Security Card with some dollar bills being fished by a hook.
Money; Getty Images

Last fall, the Social Security Administration approved the highest cost-of-living adjustment — or COLA — for benefits recipients in over four decades. Now, as government sends out the first checks with the 2023 COLA included, scammers are looking to get a piece of that increase.

What's going on

The Better Business Bureau is advising recipients and their loved ones to keep an eye out for phone, text and email scams that involve the 2023 COLA, which raised Social Security and Supplemental Security Income payments by 8.7% due to inflation.

  • The bureau says scammers contact benefit recipients claiming to be a representative from the Social Security Administration and tell them they have to apply for a cost-of-living increase.
  • The scammers ask their targets to visit a website, send them information via text, or speak on the phone to quote-unquote "claim their benefit."
  • Scammers will ask for sensitive personal information like a person's address, Social Security number or bank information, saying that someone will deposit the extra money directly into their bank accounts. In reality, they'll use the data for fraudulent purposes.

The truth

  • The SSA will never contact you by email, text or phone. Much like the IRS, the agency only communicates by mail.
  • The COLA is automatic, which means beneficiaries don’t have to take any action to get their increase.
  • Scammers might threaten victims with arrest or legal action if they don’t cooperate — but the SSA doesn’t suspend Social Security numbers or ask for money. It also never asks for private information to increase payments.

Keep in mind

Recipients who suspect they are being scammed should hang up or stop communicating with the scammer. To confirm whether the claims were legitimate, you can visit to research or call 1-800-772-1213.

Ads by Money. We may be compensated if you click this ad.AdAds by Money disclaimer
Looking for a way to fix your credit? Well, you just found it.
Lexington Law uses a tried and tested process to help you work to remove negative items from your credit report. Click below to start working on repairing your credit.
View Plans

More from Money:

How Long Does Retirement Last? Many Americans Don't Know

Save for College or Retirement? New 529 Rule Makes It Easier to Help Your Kid Do Both

'Shrinkflation' Really Is Making Your Groceries Smaller, Government Confirms