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Protect Yourself Against Social Security Scam Calls!

  • By:The Law Center for Social Security Rights
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Fraud and scam calls are unfortunately part of everyday life in the digital age we live in. Whether it’s the call urging you to extend the warranty on a vehicle, offering a free vacation or paying off your credit card. At a recent conference, there was a Social Security public relations speaker whose main topic was to talk about the Social Security scam calls. She indicated that people filed over 76,000 reports about Social Security impostors from April 2018 to April 2019, with reported losses of $19 million. About 36,000 reports and $6.7 million in reported losses were reported between February and April 2019 which is a drastic increase.

This scam is in the form of a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security. The caller claims Social Security needs additional information so they can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. It may be a real live person or a robocaller. Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling. The crooks can make a call look as if it’s coming from a government off.

Either way, the called says that if you fail to resolve the issue by either giving your social security number or calling back a certain phone number, your benefits will be stopped or “frozen”. This scam is pretty scary because many people who are collecting disability rely on their benefit and the thought their benefit being cut off can frighten them into giving the caller whatever information they are asking for. With this in mind, here are some steps to protect yourself:

  1. Hang up immediately. If you are contacted out of the blue by Social Security, it is in all probability fraud. Most times, Social Security calls only in response to something you have initiated, such as a question or request for help. So if you get an unsolicited call, it’s likely not them. Some fake calls will ask you to press a button to stop getting these calls. Don’t respond! Scammers use these responses to identify potential victims.
  2. Never provide personal information over the telephone to an unknown caller. Don’t give out your personal information over the telephone to someone you don’t know, whether they seem to be threatening action or not. The information is likely to be used in ways that will harm you. If the caller asks to verify information, don’t say “yes.” They may be recording your voice. The word “yes” can then be used out of context — to authorize charges on your bank accounts and credit cards.
  3. Report the call to Social Security. Finally, you should report the call to the Social Security. Scams involving people who claim to be from the Social Security are frequent enough that they now have a fraud hotline. You can reach it at 1-800-269-0271. The Social Security Administration also has a Scam Awareness page with information on this and other frauds involving people impersonating the governmental agencies including the Internal Revenue Service, lotteries and Social Security officers. This website is: https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness.

Remember, Social Security will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Period. It is also a good idea to set up a My Social Security Account online and check it on a monthly basis for signs of anything unusual, even if you have not yet started collecting benefits.

Posted in: Fraud and Scams

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