Categorized | Features, Your Money

Beware Of Scammers Pretending To Be From Social Security

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Last week I received six recorded calls purportedly from the Social Security Administration (SSA) informing me that my Social Security number was being deactivated. 

By Sondra L. Shapiro

Last week I received six recorded calls purportedly from the Social Security Administration (SSA) informing me that my Social Security number was being deactivated. I immediately hung up because I knew it was a scam.

I was among many who received similar calls. Sadly, in the digital age, frauds and scams are an unfortunate part of doing business online.  “These calls appear to be happening across the country,” said Gail S. Ennis, the inspector general for SSA. “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA just hang up,” she said in a statement.

Callers sometimes claim your Social Security number is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to provide a phone number to resolve the issue. Calls can even display the 800-772-1213, SSA’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on your caller ID, according to a  release.

People should be aware the scheme’s details may vary. In some cases, the caller states that the agency does not have all of your personal information, such as your Social Security number on file. Other callers claim the agency needs additional information so it can increase your benefit payment, or that it will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information.

Always avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown individuals over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, be extra careful. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. But, never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

Social Security employees do occasionally contact people — generally those who have ongoing business with the agency — by telephone for business purposes. However they will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller. If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the Fraud Hotline at 800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

 

 

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