People who rely on Social Security due to a disability, medical issues, income level, and age have become increasingly vulnerable to Social Security scams over the past year. In 2017, just over $3,000 was lost to these scams.
But in 2018, that number exploded. Over $10 million have been lost in the last year to Social Security Administration scams. Thousands of people fall victim to these vicious scams each year.
Don’t let yourself be manipulated by cruel scammers. Read on to learn more about what a Social Security scam sounds like, how to report one, and how to avoid one altogether.
Keep your money, privacy, and sanity safe by reading these tips and staying more aware and alert.
Usually, a Social Security Administration scam follows a similar, recognizable script. The good news is that that means that a little research beforehand can stop you from falling prey to it.
Social Security scam phone calls usually begin with someone calling your number from an unknown or faked phone number (more on this later). They will introduce themselves as a representative of the Social Security Administration, or occasionally as a representative of a law enforcement or collections agency.
Next, the scammer will say something like, “Your Social Security number has been suspended.” They will usually tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended due to illegal activity, identity theft, overpayment, or other vague reasons.
They will tell you that you won’t receive any more Social Security payments, or that you will be prosecuted, unless you provide them with personal information, such as your Social Security number or banking information.
In other cases, the scam is more complex and will involve making wire transfers yourself or putting money on gift cards to correct the problem.
The Social Security Administration’s official number is 1-800-772-1213. Some Social Security scammers will manipulate their phone or another device to make it look like that’s the number that’s calling you on your caller ID.
If you suspect that a Social Security scam is going on, hang up the phone immediately and call the actual Social Security number. They will be able to let you know exactly what’s going on.
Social Security scam phone calls nearly always involve threats, whether of prosecution or suspension of your Social Security number.
Remember that no Social Security Administration representative will ever call you out of the blue to let you know that your payments have been stopped or that you might be arrested. This is always a scam and can lead to identity theft, especially if you give away your Social Security number.
Your Social Security cannot be suspended without your prior knowledge or without a mailed, printed notice. You will never have to send fees or wire transfers in order to correct any problem that does exist.
Contact Social Security or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you encounter a scam like this.