INDIANAPOLIS — If you or a loved one is a Social Security recipient, the Better Business Bureau wants you to be on the lookout for scammers taking advantage of this year’s cost-of-living adjustment (COLA).

Due to inflation, Social Security payments are going up 8.7% this year. That’s the largest COLA increase in more than 40 years.

Since scammers are always watching for opportunities to cash in, the BBB says Social Security recipients and their loved ones should be on the lookout for unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA).

According to watchdogs at the BBB, scammers will contact a Social Security recipient by phone, text or email claiming to be from the SSA. The caller will say you have to apply for the COLA increase before seeing it on payments. Once they get you talking, they’ll start asking for information like your name, address, Social Security number, or even banking information. The fake representative may even offer to deposit the increase amount directly into your bank.

However, you don’t need to apply for the COLA increase. The payment adjustment is automatic. If someone says you need to do anything to see the increase, they’re scamming you to get your personal information for identity theft.

In addition, the BBB says the Social Security Administration generally doesn’t call people out of the blue.

“If there is a problem with your Social Security number, we will mail you a letter,” the SSA website states. “Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us.”

If you have an elderly loved one on Social Security, it’s a good idea to talk about this to make sure they’re aware. If you suspect something suspicious, it’s best to hang up and call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213. You can also contact the administration through its website.