Phone scammers are pretty smart…and unfortunately pretty successful.
According to BeenVerified, social security fraud accounts for ten percent of all fraudulent claims. Last year, it cost Americans $19 million, per the Federal Trade Commission.
Be Wary of New Tactics
Bad actors are leaving very official-sounding voicemails urging individuals to call a Washington, DC-based phone number that might even come across your phone as the Social Security Administration. They are currently using one of the following threats:
“Your Social Security Number has been suspended due to suspicious activity.”
“Your Social Security Number has been compromised.”
“Someone has brought a Federal case against you, and you must send money immediately to dismiss it.”
7 Ways to Keep Scammers at Bay
Knowledge is king, so please remember these essential tips:
1. The Social Security Administration (SSA) does not have the authority to suspend your number.
2. The Social Security Administration will never call you with aggressive threats of police involvement. If the caller or recorded message gives you this information, hang up immediately. Don’t be surprised if they call multiple times within a few hours or days. Hang up each time.
3. The SSA doesn’t require immediate payment or ask you to divulge your personal information over the phone.
4. They don’t leave a message and ask you to call another number (which is usually in a foreign country).
5. Don’t send money, gift cards, or disclose personal information to scammers over the phone. Let them know they need to send you whatever they need in writing. If they ask for your address, hang up because they should already have it in their database!
6. If you think you’ve been scammed (or were attempted to be), please report the incident to the Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse/fraud-waste-and-abuse.
7. Never open Word or PDF attachments, even if it appears legitimate. Call the Social Security Administration and ask if they recently emailed you information and what it is. Another telltale sign they didn’t send it is the sender’s email doesn’t end with ssa.gov. It’s usually some weird email extension.
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