Social security scams are on the rise. One type of mailing offers to provide, for a fee, services that are available from the Social Security Administration wholly free. Consumers can obtain information for free by calling the Social Security Administration. However, bilkers figure that you are ignorant and exploitable.
Another type of solicitation allegedly offers an extra social security check to senior citizens. The latter is required to send back the money or provide their bank account or social security numbers. Recipients are asked to send a “filing fee” of varying amounts. Conversely, they might be asked to fill out a form including their Social Security and bank account numbers, enabling the fee to be “automatically deducted.”
Consumers who fill out applications for these fraudulent companies are giving away enough confidential information to enable the use of their identity to establish credit, apply for a loan, buy a car, or conduct sundry transactions in their name.
If you receive misleading information about a “Social Security” service from someone seeking payment for the service, redirect the solicitation to the Social Security Administration. If you have a complaint about a company you believe, have defrauded you, get in touch with the Better Business Bureau.
Fraudulent Threatening Phone Calls
When, the National Council on Aging announced its “Scams to Watch Out For” in 2019, bogus phone calls related to Social Security benefits topped the list.
According to the FTC, the calls often involve people—or these might be robocalls—pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who try to get your Social Security number or demand money. The agency warns that callers sometimes use spoofing techniques to make the genuine Social Security hotline number (1-800-772-1213) appear on the recipient’s caller ID screen. The caller may also identify themselves using the name of an actual SSA official.
The SSA says the language used in these calls has become “increasingly threatening” in recent years. The caller generally states that owing to improper/illegal activity with the person’s Social Security number or account. They will be arrested/face other legal action unless they call a particular phone number to address the issue.
Fraudulent Friendly Service Phone Calls
Another type of social security scams call attempts to sell to the recipient services which the SSA readily provides at no charge. The caller might, for example, offer to provide a new Social Security card, enrol a new family member in the program, or provide a record of Social Security contributions to date, along with the expected future income they will yield.
Fake Email Headers and Phishing
Victims can also be drawn in by phishing emails that appear to be messages from the SSA. The emails may have attachments resembling actual letters from the SSA, complete with the agency’s seal and similar font styles. The email messages may also direct readers to a fake web page designed to look like the actual SSA website.
The objective is to obtain personal information from you. The same clues of fraudulent intent as with the phone calls obtain here. The SSA reiterates that legitimate emails from the agency never seek personal information and never adopt an alarmist/threatening tone.
The Social Security Administration has reiterated time, and again it will never use intimidating or threatening language in any form of communication.
Social Security Fraud by Mail
While the rise of scams perpetrated electronically, and thus cheaply, has brought down the volume of Social Security fraud by mail, the practice is not yet unfashionable. One such scheme is a direct mail scam that mainly targets older people.
A letter comes in the mail presenting an extra check, accompanied by a form asking for personal information and a filing fee. The scammer asks the recipient for a Social Security number, money, or bank account information to help with the application.
Again, this is a tocsin. The Social Security Administration will never ask for your Social Security number because it already knows it. If the SSA does send you a letter—for example, when your benefits increase—it will never ask you for money or any other personal information.
How to Protect Yourself From Social Security Scams?
The best way to avoid becoming a victim of Social Security scams is to stay vigilant. Upon receiving a phone call asking for your Social Security number or other personal information, it’s best to hang up immediately. You could add the caller’s phone number to a blocked-call list to help prevent repeated nuisance calls.
Be aware, however, that spoofing permits scammers to use (or at least display to you) a succession of misleading numbers. So, unfortunately, blocking the first number that called you does not prevent further calls from different phone numbers.
Be sure that your information, including your Social Security card, is stored securely. Shred any documents with sensitive information – rather than lazily putting them in the trash. If you access Social Security information online, keep your password to yourself .you ought to change the password regularly to minimize the possibility of your account being hacked.
It’s also worth checking your credit reports periodically to ascertain that no one has compromised your financial information. A paid credit monitoring service might also be helpful. Ultimately, try to keep up to date with the latest Social Security scams. The SSA’s Office of the Inspector General monitors these and issues warnings as new schemes arise.
How to Report a Social Security Scam?
You have several options if you suspect you’ve been the victim of a scam or want to report calls or correspondence that you find suspicious. You can call your local authorities or the OIG hotline (1-800-269-0271). Conversely, you might submit a fraud report on the website of the OIG.
- You may also report the scam on the FTC’s complaint website. Please ascertain that you document anything you can to add to your report. These might include :
- A telephone number or website,
- The name the caller gave,
- The time and date of the call or email,
- What information you were asked for,
- And anything else that might help identify the finagler.
The hoaxer wants you to panic. Once you are no longer ignorant of your rights and privileges, you are no longer given to alarm. The SSA has a human face, so there’s reason to believe no one hiding behind a robotic voice can convince you otherwise. You are constitutionally protected against arbitrary harassment from State agencies – that’s a special attribute of US citizenship. Feel empowered, and exercise your privileges with prudence. Apprise yourself of the charms of the confidence man, learn to frustrate his tricks. Social security scams shall then plague the land no more.
Should you be in need of assistance, however, Fast Action Refund (https://fastactionrefund.com/) would gladly help.