October 8, 2019
Social Security scams
The Social Security scam is currently the number one scam reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). From April 1, 2018 to March 31, 2019, more than 76,000 reports were received by the FTC, with a reported loss of $19 million. The problem is only accelerating.
Scammers claim to be from Social Security Administration saying your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or it was involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer will try to get you to confirm your Social Security number to reactivate it. They may also say your bank account is about to be seized unless you put money on gift cards and give them the codes.
If you receive a call like this, hang up. Even though your caller ID may say Social Security Administration, scammers have a way of faking or spoofing phone numbers. Your Social Security number is not going to be suspended, and the Social Security Administration will never call to threaten your benefits. They will also never ask you to wire money, send cash, or put money on a gift card to fix the problem.
Protect yourself from these types of phone calls by hanging up immediately. Never give out your Social Security number, credit card, or bank account number to anyone who contacts you, ever.
To report this scam, go to ftc.gov/complaint. If you think you have been scammed and gave the caller your Social Security number and you’re worried about identity theft, visit IdentityTheft.gov/ssa. You should also contact local law enforcement to report the scam.
To better safeguard your Social Security account, and to protect your privacy, identity, and your Social Security statement information, Social Security offers an online identity verification process at ssa.gov. Social Security’s cybersecurity program confirms your identity when conducting online business. The process requires you to sign in with a username and password, and choose a cell phone number or email as your second identification when you sign in to, or register for, my Social Security. Two forms of identification better protect your account from unauthorized use and against potential for identity theft. If you cannot, or do not want to create an account online, you can visit your local Social Security office.
Take charge of regularly monitoring your credit by requesting a free yearly credit report from one of the three reporting agencies–Experian, Equifax, or TransUnion. You are entitled to a free credit report from each of the three reporting agencies once every 12 months. You can request all three reports at the same time, or space them throughout the year.
Source: ftc.gov; ssa.gov