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Education

How to spot Social Security Scams
Education

How to spot Social Security Scams

Posted on

We take fraud seriously and so should you.

Social Security numbers are the skeleton key to identity theft, and what better way to get someone’s Social Security number than by pretending to be from the Social Security Administration.

In 2021, the Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) received approximately 360,000 reports of Social Security impersonators and related scams.

One common tactic involves fake Social Security Administration (SSA) employees contacting you by U.S. Mail, phone, texting, or emailing about supposed problems with your Social Security Number or payments.  The fake employee claims that they are contacting you to warn that there is an issue with your payment and that it has been suspended or that your number has been linked to criminal activity.  The imposter informs you that to claim your payment or reactivate your number, you must confirm your Social Security Number.  This is a ploy to obtain your personal data.  The data they are attempting to obtain includes your Social Security Number and bank account information.

The Social Security Administration will use U.S. Mail, emails, text messages, and social media to provide information on their programs and services.  However, they will not request personal or financial information through these methods.  Sometimes, they will send emails with information that are particular to your needs, usually after a discussion with you in person or over the phone.  When they make phone contact, it is often to confirm the legitimacy of claims.

Be alert!  It is important to beware of scammers pretending to be from Social Security.  Reports about fraudulent calls of people claiming to be from the agency continue to increase.

Social Security Administration may contact you in some situations, but will never:

  • Threaten you
  • Suspend your Social Security Number
  • Demand immediate payment from you
  • Require payment by retail gift card, wire transfer, internet currency (cryptocurrency), or mailing cash
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, hang up, and the report the details of the call to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at https://oig.ssa.gov/.  You can also call the Social Security’s Fraud Hotline at (800)269-0271.

You can call Social Security’s customer service line at (800)772-1213 to confirm whether a communication purporting to be from the SSA is real. 

To minimize unwanted phone calls, consider placing your phone number(s) on the National Do Not Call Registry.  You can register your home or mobile phone for free.  Visit www.donotcall.gov or call (888)382-1222 to learn more.

Please share this information with your friends and family to help spread the awareness about Social Security scams.

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