Scams have become an unfortunate part of doing business online or via phone. Many people have received a call or voicemail from someone warning them that their Social Security number or benefits are suspended due to suspicious activity. It’s an alarming scam and one we must help people identify so that they do not become the next victim.
We, at Social Security, are serious about protecting the information entrusted to us. In the past year, we’ve posted a series of blogs about how our beneficiaries can protect their information from scammers and what to do when they receive a call from someone pretending to be us.
We are teaming up with other government agencies and organizations to help spread these tips. Most recently, we worked with the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to create a new fraud prevention placemat to help you avoid Social Security scams. We’ve also worked with the Administration for Community Living and the Office of the Inspector General to develop and publish educational resources to help the public spot these schemes and avoid becoming victims themselves. The resources include a video, factsheets, and materials on how we can protect the elderly from fraud.
These resources are free and easily shareable. You can find the video about how you can help Social Security protect your information on our website. You can download the factsheet Protecting Your Information by visiting the Office of the Inspector General’s website. You can also check out the National Center on Elder Abuse for materials about preventing the financial exploitation of our older citizens.
We believe that knowing how to tell the difference between a scam and a genuine call from Social Security is important. You can help us protect the people you serve. These are some things to remember:
- Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
- Never give out personal information such as your account numbers, passwords, Social Security number, mother’s maiden name, or other identifying information if a call seems suspicious.
- Government employees will not threaten to take away benefits or ask for money or personal information to protect your Social Security card or benefits.
- If you receive a call from someone asking for your Social Security number, bank account number, or credit card information, don’t engage this caller. Instead, hang up and report that information to the Office of Inspector General via their online fraud-reporting form. You should also report these calls to the Federal Trade Commission.
Scammers are hard at work every day. Together, we can help safeguard the American public. Please help us spread the word.