Recently, residents have been calling because they have been receiving calls from scammers who claim to be from the Social Security Administration, threatening to take their benefits if they do not comply with their instructions. The recorded call informs residents that their social security number has been suspended, and they will lose all of their benefits unless they press a number to speak to a live representative. These phone scammers also threaten to block residents’ social security numbers and seize their bank accounts. Please be aware of these phone scammers and DO NOT give them any information.
Here are some tips to take caution if you encounter one of these calls:
1. The Social Security Administration will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash or put money on gift cards.
2. You do not have to verify your social security number to anyone who initiates a call with you.
3. Never give any part of your social security number, bank account information or credit card number to anyone who contacts you.
The best thing to do if you receive a call like this is hang up and do not provide personal information. These tips should be adhered to for any suspicious call of this nature claiming to be any government entity, or “to good to be true,” type offer.
Here is a sample call from scammers:
Message from the Social Security Administration:
The FTC is getting reports about people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) who are trying to get your Social Security number and even your money. In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your Social is blocked – but he might ask you for a fee to reactivate it, or to get a new number. And he will ask you to confirm your Social Security number.
In other variations, he says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. Or he might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he’ll tell you how to keep it safe.
But all of these are scams. Here’s what you need to know:
- The SSA will never (ever) call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything. And it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
- Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
- Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
- Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.
If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the realSSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you’ve spotted a scam, then tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.