Rise in Social Security Scams

Just when you think you’ve heard it all, scam callers seem to be one step ahead, creating new ways to trigger fear and dupe many into very costly mistakes. There seems to be one type of scam call that has been on the rise lately – Social Security scam calls. In 2017, these calls were reported to cost people around $210,000. This year, these calls have already been reported to cost victims $10 million.
 
How to Identify Scam Calls
 
Knowing what to watch for can put you ahead when it comes to scam calls – here are a few things to note when it comes to scam calls:
  • Scam artists can use the Social Security Administration’s number, so don’t trust caller ID
  • Don’t ever give your Social Security number over the phone or email 
  • No government agency will ever call and demand money over the phone
This last point is a great point to remember in general – when it comes to any government agency, from Social Security to the IRS, none of these agencies will call and demand payment.
 
For an example of what a scam call can sound like, check out this recording provided by FTC Consumer Information.
While these calls may sound legitimate, don’t be fooled – remember that no government agency will ask you to provide your Social Security number or reach out to you via phone or email to ask for money.
 
How to Report a Scam
 
If you believe you may be on the phone with a scam caller, hang up. Do not give any personal information. If unsure if the call you received is a scam, go ahead and call the real Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.
 
There are also email scams that appear to be from the Social Security Administration asking for you to update your information. Once again, this can seem like a legitimate email, but if you update your info, you can give the wrong people your Social Security number, bank account info, and other personal info. If you receive any emails like this, call 1-800-772-1213 and ask if this information is actually needed.
 
If you know a scam caller has contacted you, then tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.
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