Posted by BEST FINANCIAL GROUP LTD

Listen Up! New Social Security Scams You Need to be Aware Of

Listen Up! New Social Security Scams You Need to be Aware Of

This advice may seem unconventional to you but in order to protect yourself from the world’s thieves and scam artists, you have to keep up with them, especially in their constantly changing methods.

Just recently, the involvement of IRS imposters demanding immediate payment over the phone using gift cards was exposed as a major scam. With this alarming incident, law enforcement in India did their best and traced the main scammers to India. Now the incidents of that scam are greatly reduced and many of the perpetrators at call centers are arrested.

But it did not stop there! New scams have been developed by con artists and they are using Social Security as the bait.

A scammer usually does it by pretending he/she is an employee from Social Security informing you that your Social Security number has been suspended due to fraudulent activity involving the number. In addition, when that person advises you to take immediate action in order to have the number reinstated, no doubt, that person is a fake Social Security employee.

But there are also times that the call is less threatening specifically when a caller says that your Social Security's computers are down and to keep your number from being suspended, the government needs to confirm it.

Instances like when recipients will be advised to click on a link in the email and follow the instructions on the web page it brings up are also considered as another alternative scam where your email is used to make some claims.

These tactics of scams will have you provide your Social Security number and other important information to the crooks. The Federal Trade Commission and Social Security Administration advised that Social Security wouldn't call or email people under either of these circumstances.

And for the sake of increasing your awareness with regards to the valid processes done by Social Security, here are some important points about it: 

  • Social Security will send you a letter if a problem is identified with your number or account. It will never call you nor ask you for your number or other important information.
  • For the sake of ensuring people's earnings history is correct, Social Security does send emails reminding people to review their benefits statements. Take note that these emails can only be sent if you established a "My Social Security" account on the Social Security website and provided an email address.
  • If you can't be sure if the email is legitimate or a scam, just don't click on any links in an email purporting to be from Social Security for you to be on the safe side. It would be a good decision in case you really want to check your earnings history or other information to open your internet browser and enter the address of the Social Security website (www.socialsecurity.gov ) or call Social Security.

To those who aged 62 and older, you are vulnerable to another scam that can occur after the crooks obtained your Social Security number and other information, often by buying it from other crooks.

Once they already gain access to your account, the crooks open a “My Social Security" account in your name. Furthermore, they will change your address and the financial account to which benefits are deposited. They can even apply for your benefits and have them deposited in one of their bank accounts if you aren't already receiving benefits. What's worst is, the thieves have received already a couple of benefit checks and perhaps years of them if you hadn't planned to apply for benefits for a while by the time you learn what's happened.

To open a "my Social Security" account at www.socialsecurity.gov would be a good form of protection for you. Through this, you can check your earnings history, estimated benefits, and other information at any time. This also lets you use SSA's calculator to receive customized benefit estimates under different scenarios instead of the standard scenarios in the basic benefits estimates.

It’s a good idea to log in to your account every few months to see if there's been any activity, especially if you're at least 62 and don't plan to apply for benefits for a few years. In this way, it also lets you avoid theft since you can see if anyone applied for benefits in your name or tried to change the financial account in which your benefits are deposited.

Wise steps to Report a Scam

Actually, you have several options to do if you suspect you've been a victim of a scam or simply want to report Social Security calls or correspondence that you find suspicious.

  • You can dial the OIG hotline (1-800-269-0271) and call your local authorities.
  • At the Social Security website's fraud page, fill out a public fraud reporting form.
  • Make sure to document anything you can add to your reports such as a telephone number, or website, the name of the caller, the time and date of the call or email, the requested information from you and any information of help to identify the person who made the call or the scammer.
  • Report immediately the scam as soon as possible on the FTC’s complaint website. 


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