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What You Need to Know About the Social Security Scam

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Social Security numbers are one of the most valuable pieces of information that a scammer can get ahold of, leaving the rightful owners of those numbers vulnerable to a whole slew of scams involving identity theft. And scammers have a particularly devious way of getting those numbers—by pretending to be FROM the Social Security Administration (SSA) itself.

 

How It Works

  • You get a call from someone claiming to work for the SSA. The caller may have an elaborate, made-up title such as "officer with the Office of the Attorney General"
  • The caller may claim your Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity or that it was used in a crime, and then will ask you to "verify" your Social Security number
  • This call, or a subsequent call or email, threatens consequences, such as arrest, loss of benefits or suspension of your Social Security number, if you do not provide a payment or personal information
  • In an ironic twist, a new scam involves receiving an email allegedly from the SSA, which contains a link to register for a program to "protect yourself from Social Security fraud." Unfortunately, it's a scam, and the website, which may look real, will be used to gather and steal your information

 

What You Should Know

  • The SSA typically will not call you unless you have already been in touch yourself
  • SSA employees will NEVER ask you for your Social Security number. If someone asks you to provide it, it is a scam
  • SSA employees will not threaten you with arrest, and will not threaten to withhold funds or otherwise "freeze" your benefits if you do not give them information

 

What You Should Do

  • Hang up if someone calls you claiming to be from the SSA. If you are concerned it may be a legitimate call dial the main SSA number (1-800-772-1213) rather than the number, the caller provides you
  • Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you
  • Report scam attempts like these to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint
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