Social Security Administration scams are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission says SSA telephone shakedowns specifically targeting senior citizens now surpass phony IRS calls, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens.
Scammers are calling, pretending to be from the SSA and saying that your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or being involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it, or will ask for money or gift cards to keep your SSN or bank account safe.
SSA Inspector General Gail S. Ennis has also warned citizens “… about a caller-ID ‘spoofing’ scheme misusing the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General’s Fraud Hotline phone number.
“The OIG has received recent reports of phone calls displaying the Fraud Hotline number on a caller-ID screen. This is a scam; OIG employees do not place outgoing calls from the Fraud Hotline 800 number. Citizens should not engage with these calls or provide personal information.”
Dan Weber, AMAC president, said, “These con men are ‘phishing’ for Social Security numbers that can be used to commit all kinds of online crime. They can use stolen SS accounts to take out loans in your name, leaving you holding the bag. In addition, while they are at it, they often try to extort money from you. Meanwhile, the solution is quite simple — just hang up.”
If you get one of these suspicious calls from someone alleging to be from SSA or OIG, you should report that information to the SSA OIG online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling 800-269-0271, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific time.
Or, you can file a complaint online at ftc.gov/complaint. Also, if you feel you have shared information mistakenly, go to the FTC’s identify theft site: https://identitytheft.gov/Assistant?ssa=true.
Social Security and FTC advice:
• Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
• SSA will never call to threaten you or your benefits. And SSA will not tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
• Don’t trust what you see on caller ID. Scammers can make it look like they’re calling from anywhere, even a real SSA phone number. Read what the real SSA has to say about this scam at their Social Security Matters blog.
• Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you out of the blue … or your bank account or credit card number.
• Real SSA staff do call people who have ongoing business with the agency. But they’ll never threaten you, ask you to confirm your SSN or ask you to send money.