Imagine this scenario: Your phone rings, and the caller identifies themselves as a representative from Social Security. They inform you that potential illegal activity has been detecting regarding your Social Security number, and that your account has been suspended.
Alarmed, you ask the caller how you can get this fixed right away. He or she tells you to call another number, follow directions as prompted, and you can prevent your assets from being frozen.
If you follow these directions, you will be asked to confirm certain types of information including your Social Security number, your birth date, your bank account numbers, and more. But you won’t be preventing fraud; you’ll be aiding it. These calls are a common scam, and unfortunately many Americans are falling for it. Once you give away your information on the phone, it will be used to obtain credit cards or loans in your name.
It’s understandable that this call would alarm you. But here is something extremely important that everyone should know about Social Security: They will never call you, unless they are simply returning a call that you made earlier. When anything is “wrong” regarding your Social Security benefits, they will send a letter in the mail (although it’s quite uncommon for anything to go wrong with your benefits).
So if you do receive one of these calls, hang up the phone immediately. Do not confirm any information regarding your identity, and certainly do not call any other numbers this person provides you. Instead, report the incident to Social Security’s fraud hotline, at 1-800-269-0271. A real Social Security representative can also reassure you that there is nothing wrong with your account.
Finally, apply these same rules to any strange emails that you might receive. Social Security will never email you about your benefits, so don’t click any links or provide any information if you receive one. Delete the email, and report the potential scam right away. Taking these steps can protect your Social Security number, your identity, and your financial future.