The Social Security Administration Encourages You to be on the Look Out for Scams
Disaster scams are still out there. The Social Security Administration (SSA) issued another warning last week. The scammers are making phone calls and sending emails, posing as FEMA or SSA employees. They ask¬† for your Social Security number¬† and bank information, stating that they need it to make sure you get your benefits. These are the same type of scammers that call or send emails claiming that you won a prize and asking you to provide information so they may send you the winnings or even asking you to pay a fee upfront.¬† Once the thieves have your personal information, they can use it to open credit accounts, buy homes, claim tax refunds, and commit other types of fraud. Most recently, some identity thieves have redirected Social Security beneficiaries‚Äô monthly benefit payments, so the money goes to a different bank account, sometimes repeatedly.
To help prevent this type of fraud, the Inspector General recommends that you:
- never provide your personal information when receiving unsolicited calls or contacts
- never agree to accept pre-paid debit cards or credit cards in another person‚Äôs name
- never agree to send or wire money to an unknown person
- always contact your local SSA office if you receive a call from a person claiming to be from SSA, and that person asks you to provide your Social Security number or other information.
To verify the legitimacy of a caller who claims to be an SSA employee, call your local Social Security office, or Social Security‚Äôs toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can call Social Security‚Äôs TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.
If you find that someone has stolen or is using your personal information, you should report that to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-ID-THEFT.¬† You can report suspicious activity involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline, or by phone at 1-800-269-0271. Deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals can call OIG‚Äôs TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.