You likely hate reading about scams as much as we hate writing about them! Unfortunately, there is little evidence that scammers are slowing their activity– in fact, the opposite appears to be true and their newest target is Social Security.
According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), scammers have been known to use legitimate names of employees from the Office of Inspector General. They are able to “spoof” government phone numbers so caller ID appears to be legitimate. Scammers may also send official-looking documents through mail, email, or text message. These messages may contain some of your personal information that they were able to obtain from another source.
Once they have your attention, these scammers will threaten legal action or arrest if they are not paid immediately. They may threaten to “suspend” your Social Security Number, cut off benefit payments, or seize your bank account. You are instructed to make immediate payments with gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, cryptocurrency, or by mailing cash. Other times they’ll offer to move your money to a “protected” bank account.
Unfortunately, these scammers can be persuasive and persistent. The best course of action is to hang up on calls, ignore voicemails, and never click on links or attachments sent by email. Be skeptical and cautious of unexpected calls and messages. Protect your money and personal information and do not transfer funds or buy gift cards. Most importantly, talk to someone you trust.
If you do fall victim to a scam, the Federal Trade Commission’s article, “What to do if You Were Scammed” includes information on what to do if you have become a victim. For scams specifically related to Social Security, you can report directly to the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov/report.
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