Fake Emails And Phishing
Victims can also be reeled in by phishing emails that appear to be messages from the SSA. The emails may have attachments that resemble actual letters from the SSA, complete with the agency’s seal and similar font styles. The email messages may also direct readers to a fake web page designed to look like the real SSA website.
The motive is to obtain personal information from you, which you should never provide. The same clues of fraudulent intent as with the phone calls apply here. The SSA says that legitimate emails from the agency never seek personal information and do not adopt an alarmist or threatening tone.
How To Identify A Scam Call
There are legal enforcement actions which have been filed on your social security number involving fraudulent activities, said the pre-recorded message when one viewer answered his phone.
The message asks you to call them back or they will begin legal proceedings against you. If you do call, they will attempt to get you to verify or confirm your social security number. Dont ever give your social security number to anyone by phone, not even the last four digits.
The Social Security Administration will never call you and threaten you with arrest or any other kind of legal action. You should just hang up the phone on anyone who makes those statements. If you worry a call you received could be legitimate, you can call that office directly. The number to the SSA is 1-800-772-1213.
How To Spot A Government Imposter Scam
Scammers are pretending to be government employees. They may threaten you and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action. These criminals continue to evolve and find new ways to steal your money and personal information. Do not fall for it! We want you to know how you and your loved ones can avoid becoming victims!
Watch our public service announcement below
Check Your Credit Report
The Social Security Administration can tell you if someone is working on your SSN and the IRS can tell you if someone is filing taxes on it, but only your credit agencies can tell you if someone is using your SSN to acquire and use credit in your name.
There are three major credit reporting agencies in the United States: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion. They each have slightly different methodologies and scoring programs, but they all more or less provide the same service.
You are entitled to a free copy of your credit report every 12 months . By contacting each service and requesting your report, you can immediately spot any suspicious activity on your credit accounts. Look for credit card applications, loan applications, and any debt you dont recognize.
Requesting your reports is simple:
- TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289 transunion.com
is a reputable service, and if you sign up for it you can keep a monthly eye on your credit score and your credit history, making it very difficult for an identity thief to put one over you in the long run.
How To Report A Social Security Scam
If you suspect youve been the victim of a scam or simply want to report calls or correspondence that you find suspicious, you have several options. You can call the Office of the Inspector General hotline or submit a fraud report on the OIG’s website using the online SSA Scam Reporting Form.
You can also report the scam on the FTCs complaint website. Make sure you document anything you can to add to your report, such as a telephone number or website, the name the caller gave, the time and date of the call or email, what information you were asked for, and anything else that might help identify the fraudster.
Beware Of Calls Saying Your Social Security Number Is Suspended
A common phone call scam that people have been receiving states that your Social Security number is suspended for suspicious activity. It then prompts you to speak to a government agent in order to receive help resolving the issue.
This scam has been going on for over a year, if not longer, and are robocalls that pretend to be from a government official who states that suspicious or fraudulent activity associated with your social security number has been detected. The robocall then prompts you to call back or speak to an agent in order to resolve the issue.
As the FTC notes, Social Security numbers cannot be suspended, so any calls stating that they are is simply a scam. The attackers are just trying to trick you into providing your birth date, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive information.
“Thing is, Social Security numbers do not get suspended,” the FTC states in an advisory. “This is just a variation of a government imposter scam thats after your SSN, bank account number, or other personal information. In this variation of the scheme, the caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while hes trying to lure you into one.”
When receiving a call about your Social Security number, it is important to remember these important facts:
These scam utilize different scripts when performing robocalls. A current script being used by this scams is:
Heres How To Make Those Bogus Social Security Calls Stop
HOUSTON The coronavirus pandemic shut down a lot of operations, but there is actually one we all wanted to go away: those scam calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. Like a stubborn weed, however, they just keep coming back. The calls tapered off from March through late July, but in recent weeks, people have started getting them again.
This Is What A Social Security Scam Sounds Like
Earlier this month, we told you about a growing scam: people pretend to be from the Social Security Administration and try to get your Social Security number or your money. That scam is now growing exponentially. To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us theyve lost $10 million.
Heres what one of those scam calls sound like:
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Scammers are saying your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because its been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, hell say your bank account is about to be seized but hell tell you what to do to keep it safe.
Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number when these scammers call but theyre faking that number. Its not the real SSA calling.
Here’s what to know:
If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
Social Security Fraud Misuse Or Impersonation
|The Social Security Administration investigates reports like these:
|Or call 1-800-269-0271.
In 2020 Victims Were Swindled Out Of Nearly $45 Million In Social Security
This is the story of how my sister nearly fell for a Social Security scam. Her panicked call to me as she was on the line with a criminal trying to steal her money illustrates just how people fall for this type of fraud.
No doubt youve received a similar call, either from an individual or a recorded voice, claiming your Social Security number has been compromised because of criminal activity. You are told unless you respond immediately usually by sending money, buying gift cards or revealing bank account details youll be arrested or your Social Security number will be suspended.
Its a lie, but one that is so believable, last year victims were swindled out of nearly $45 million, with an average individual loss of $5,800, according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. More than 700,000 complaints of Social Security-related telephone scams were filed in 2020. A suburban Chicago man pleaded guilty early this year to laundering cash from a scheme that defrauded elderly victims. The scam allegedly conned an elderly Massachusetts woman out of $900,000 that she was urged to transfer from her bank and retirement accounts.
Social Security numbers cant be suspended. No government agency will ask you to pay with gift cards. The feds will never threaten arrest or legal action unless you immediately send cash.
This is what happened to my 62-year-old sister:
How Do I Know If Social Security Is Calling Me
Itâs always best to be cautious. If you havenât gotten mail from Social Security and you get a phone call you arenât expecting, itâs likely best to hang up.
After you hang up, if the call you just received was real or a scam. If itâs a scam, report it to the Office of the Inspector General.
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How Not To Become A Victim Of Social Security Fraud Calls
Regulators report thousands of complaints about the calls. Here are some tips on protecting yourself, and your money.
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By Ann Carrns
Youve probably received one: A recorded call warns of a problem with your Social Security number. To fix it and avoid legal action, youre told, you must call back immediately and pay up.
Many people know to ignore these calls. But the criminals can be so convincing that some people fall victim to the schemes and end up losing money often by buying gift cards and revealing their PINs.
Its not clear whether the volume of calls is increasing, but the government is getting thousands of complaints about them, Gail Ennis, the Social Security Administrations inspector general, said in a call this week with reporters. The office has received about 250,000 online complaints since unveiling a new, dedicated digital reporting form in November.
Other regulators report a flood of reports as well. The Federal Trade Commission says its fraud network received more than 166,000 complaints last year about fraudulent Social Security calls, with individual losses averaging about $1,500. And the Senates Special Committee on Aging said Social Security impersonation schemes were the most-reported fraud on its fraud hotline last year.
Here are some questions and answers about fake Social Security calls:
A New Social Security Telephone Scam Is On The Rise
The Federal Communication Commission and the United States Attorney Generals office has issued a new warning concerning a growing wave of Social Security Administration telephone scam calls. Ambassador Advisors wants to share this information to help protect our clients and their families.
This newest scam involves a fake SSA agent calling to tell you that your social security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity that is connected to a serious crime. In most instances, that serious crime involves drug trafficking linked to bank accounts opened with your Social Security number.
That call may sound like this:
In this latest version of this fraudulent phone call, the caller claims to be an agent for the Social Security Administration who is investigating multiple crimes committed connected to accounts created using your social security number. The scariest of these accusations is that these accounts have been connected to a major drug cartel or many drugs that have been seized by the DEA.
These scams are not new, but the frequency of them is on the rise.
This scam is reminiscent of the IRS imposter wave that began around 2013 when scammers began impersonating IRS officials warning people that they would not get a tax refund unless they verified their social security number.
Here are some things you should remember:
Measures You Can Take To Prevent Identity Theft
Identity theft happens when a person illegally uses your personal information to commit fraud. Someone illegally using your SSN and assuming your identity can cause a lot of problems. But there are several things you should do to prevent identity theft:
- Do not routinely carry your SSN.
- Never say your SSN aloud in public.
- Beware of phishing scams trying to trick you into revealing personal information.
- Create a personal account to help you keep track of your records and identify any suspicious activity.
- Consider adding these blocks to your account with us:
- The eServices block This prevents anyone, including you, from seeing or changing your personal information on the internet. Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block.
- The Direct Deposit Fraud Prevention block This prevents anyone, including you, from enrolling in direct deposit or changing your address or direct deposit information through or a financial institution . Once we add the block, you or your representative will need to contact your local office to request removal of the block. You will need to do the same to make any future changes to direct deposit or contact information.
Checking Your Credit Score
The most common way to catch unauthorized activity is by checking your credit information. If an account appears that you did not initiate, someone is using your Social Security number.
You can check your credit score using a third-party service like or check with your credit card company to see if they have such a feature.
If youre applying for a new line of credit and get turned down, this could mean that there are fraudulent accounts or activities that are affecting your credit score.
Your Social Security Card
Whether youve lost your social security card or someone an acquaintance used the number, this is another common way that someone has obtained this information. Keeping your social security card safe, not keeping it in your wallet, and making sure that no one can get to it is another way to protect your identity.
Does The Social Security Office Call You For Suspicious Activity
Social Security will most likely NOT call you for suspicious activity. When thereâs a problem, they will mail you a letter.
Keep in mind that if Social Security calls you, they will NEVER:
- Threaten you
- Demand any kind of payment from you
- Require payment by cash, gift card, internet currency, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer
- Ask for personal details or banking information to give you a Cost-of-Living Adjustment
- Ask for gift card numbers over the phone or to wire or mail cash
If you get a phone call where the caller says thereâs a problem with your SSN or account and you have not yet gotten a letter in the mail about it, itâs safe to hang up and report the call to the Office of the Inspector General.
Know What To Look For
- The caller or sender says there is a problem your Social Security number or account
- Any call, text, or email asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
- Scammers pretend they are from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID, texts, or documents sent by email may look official, but they are not.
Protect yourself, friends, and family!
- If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at oig.ssa.gov.
- Do not return unknown calls, emails, or texts.
- Ask someone you trust for advice before making any large purchase or financial decision.
- Do not be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.
- Learn more at oig.ssa.gov/scam.
Easy Ways To Spot A Fraudulent Phone Call Text Email Or Letter
Thomas J Catalano is a CFP and Registered Investment Adviser with the state of South Carolina, where he launched his own financial advisory firm in 2018. Thomas’ experience gives him expertise in a variety of areas including investments, retirement, insurance, and financial planning.
With some 66 million Americans receiving Social Security benefits, it isn’t surprising that scam artists invoke the program’s name in fraudulent phone calls, texts, emails, and letters. Their schemes typically involve impersonating the Social Security Administration in order to obtain and then misuse Social Security numbers and other personal information. Heres a rundown, by mode of delivery, of common Social Security scams, along with the steps to take to avoid and report them.