In 2018, a Social Security scam cost seniors millions of dollars. The scammers recognized a winning formula and have doubled down in 2019. I don’t want you or anyone you care about to get caught up in this. Keep reading; I am going to tell you how you can avoid being victimized by this scam!
Social Security Scams Over Time
There are some scams that have a longer life than others. The most recent Social Security scam has been around since about 2017 and has started to explode. The numbers of those affected by this increased ten-fold in 2018 and 2019 is already on its way to being even bigger than 2018.
There’s nothing incredibly new or savvy about this scam, but it’s working better than most. That’s probably because it’s being aimed at those who count on Social Security payments to buy food, pay for utilities and other necessities.
The phone rings, and the person on the other side tell you your social security number has been suspended, and you need to talk to them to get it straightened out. When you talk to them, they’ll have to “verify your identity” and in the process gather all sorts of personally identifiable information that will allow them to get to your money.
Currently, there are two version of this scam. Here’s how the first sounds.
“YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS PHONE CALL FROM OUR DEPARTMENT TO INFORM YOU THAT WE HAVE JUST SUSPENDED YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER BECAUSE WE HAVE JUST FOUND SOME SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY. SO IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT…”
This sounds like a pre-recorded bot voice, not an actual person, and the computerized call will continue to tell you how to reach the “department”.
Then there’s the second version that ups the ante with the threat of arrest! The message is much like the first one, but the difference is that the voice says if you do not contact them immediately, they will issue an arrest warrant and arrest you for the suspicious activity.
Keep Yourself Safe
I understand why scams like these work. Sure, I may know better than to believe that computer generated robo-call, but to a generation that is not as familiar with technology, it could sound convincing and very scary!
Here are four things to remember:
Number 1…don’t trust your caller ID! In many cases these scammers appear to be calling from the Social Security administration’s phone number. There’s spoofing technology to make it appear that way.
Second, the Social Security administration will NEVER threaten arrest.
Third, a social security number can’t be suspended for any reason that I know of. They can suspend benefit payments, but not your social security number.
Lastly, NEVER EVER EVER provide your social security number to any unknown individuals.
If you are contacted by a scammer and want to make sure everything is ok here are three ways to find out:
First, contact the social security fraud hotline to report the contact.
Second, if you just want to make sure everything is fine with your benefit payments, call the main SSA number at 800-772-1213. If you want a shorter hold time you may want to just call your local office. You can find that number at ssa.gov/locator.
You may be in the same situation I’m in where you’re pretty sure that you’d never fall for this type of scam. But you may know someone who could be more vulnerable to this. Please share this article with everyone who needs to be aware.
It’s Good To Be Proactive
You’re making a smart move by learning all you can and reading sites like these. It’s your retirement! If you know more about Social Security, and what retirement will look like for you, you will be in a better position to make sound decisions when it’s time. This is why I talk about Social Security … so you know what’s going on in the world around you.
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Thanks for reading…have a great day.