If you’re a senior, there is a chance you might have been asked to send in a $16.45 payment for a ‘Social Security referendum’ — but it’s actually a scam.
What the Social Security scam looks like and how to avoid it
According to the Detroit Free Press, seniors in several states have received a notice about a ‘referendum on Social Security’ in their mailbox from an organization called the American Service Council. The letter includes a voting form and requests a donation of $16.45 or more to fight ‘Washington Insiders’ who say that seniors do not need Social Security and already have enough money for retirement without it.
The letter includes language encouraging seniors to speak out about the issue and says that the person the letter is addressed to has been selected out of only a few representatives for their county, and thus, their participation is extremely important.
A letter sent to a particular resident states, ‘Your $16.45 will help me send 36 additional Referendums on Social Security to citizens across America who feel the same way as you and me.’
A similar scam surfaced in North Carolina last year, with the North Carolina Department of Justice warning seniors about another referendum and asking seniors to send in $22 to protect Social Security.
Though $16.45 or $22 might not seem like a lot, it can add up, and the letter also invites people to donate by sending a card back with their credit card number. But it is not advised to send your credit card number through the mail, as anyone who gets their hands on it could use it to for fraudulent transactions.
So far, neither presidential candidate is proposing cuts to Social Security. Hillary Clinton has proposed increases to Social Security benefits, while Donald Trump is wanting to curb fund abuse, but not cut benefits. A referendum to remove Social Security will not be on the ballot this fall!
This solicitation is playing off the fears of older adults who depend on their Social Security income every month. So if you see one of these letters in the mail, don’t fall for it!
Read more: How to get the maximum Social Security check