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Ways to Keep You Out of Common Social Security Scams

Source: investoped Release Time: 02:00:41 2019-12-20

As virtually all seniors receive Social Security benefits, it’s probably unsurprising that a lot of scam artists raise the program in fraudulent phone calls, emails, and letters. The schemes typically involve criminals impersonating the Social Security Agency in order to obtain, and then misuse, Social Security numbers (SSNs) and other personal information.

Here’s a rundown, by mode of delivery, of some common Social Security scams, along with the steps to take to avoid them and to report any suspected schemes you encounter.

1. Scammers use phone calls and email messages to impersonate Social Security personnel and trick people into giving up money and personal information.
2. Common tactics include threatening the suspension of Social Security benefits or charging for services the Social Security Administration provides for free.
3. Scams should be reported to your local authorities, the SSA Office of the Inspector General, or the Federal Trade Commission.

The calls often involve people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) trying to get your Social Security number or your money, according to the FTC. The agency warns that callers sometimes using so-called “spoofing” techniques to make the actual Social Security hotline number (1-800-772-1213) appear on the recipient’s phone or caller ID screen. The caller may also identify themselves by the name of an actual SSA official, such as the agency’s inspector general, Gale Ennis.

The SSA describes the language used in these calls in recent years as “increasingly threatening.” The caller typically states that due to improper or illegal activity with the person’s Social Security number or account, he or she will be arrested or face other legal action if the person fails to call a provided phone number to address the issue.

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