Protect Yourself from Social Security-Related Scams
Making Cents: Protect Yourself from Social Security-related Scams
By: John P. Napolitano, CFP®, CPA, PFS, MST
As we head toward the end of the year, we want to remind you to stay vigilant and aware of scams. These scams can come in the form of communications from purported charitable organizations, the IRS, and even the Social Security Administration.
The Social Security Administration recently published a summary of some of the common scams that have been on the rise. They want to remind you that they will NEVER threaten or try to force you to take immediate action regarding your Social Security number or benefits.
From a recent communication from the Social Security Administration…
If you receive a call, text, or email that…
- Threatens to suspend your Social Security number, even if they have part or all of your Social Security number
- Warns of arrest of legal action
- Demands or requests immediate payment
- Requires payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, internet currency, or by mailing cash
- Pressures you for personal information
- Requests secrecy
- Threatens to seize your bank account
- Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
- Tries to gain your trust by providing fake "documentation," false "evidence," or the name of a real government official
Do not give scammers money or personal information – IGNORE THEM!
Protect yourself and other from Social Security-related scams
- Try to stay calm. Do not provide anyone with money or personal information when you feel pressured, threatened, or scared.
- Hang up or ignore it. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email, hang up or do not respond. Government employees will not threaten you, demand immediate payment, or try to gain your trust by sending you pictures or documents.
- Report Social Security-related scams. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email that mentions Social Security, ignore it and report it to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Do not be embarrassed if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.
- Get up-to-date information. Follow SSA OIG on Twitter @TheSSAOIG and Facebook @SSA Office of the Inspector General for the latest information on Social Security-related scams. Visit the Federal Trade Commission for information on other government scams.
- Spread the word. Share your knowledge of Social Security-related scams. Post on social media using the hashtag #SlamtheScam to share your experience and warn others. Visit oig.ssa.gov/scam for more information. Please also share with your friends and family.
To report a scam to the Social Security Administration, click here