The Office of Inspector General is warning people to be on the lookout for suspicious calls that claim to be from the Social Security Administration. Social Security scams have skyrocketed over the past year to become the #1 type of fraud reported to the Social Security Administration. To combat these scams, Social Security and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will use the new online form at https://oig.ssa.gov to capture data that will be analyzed for trends and commonalities. The OIG will use the data to identify investigative leads, which could help identify criminal entities or individuals participating in or facilitating the scams. Ultimately, these efforts are expected to disrupt the scammers, help reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of victims.
How the Scam Works
You answer the phone, and it’s someone alleging to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or another government entity. The name on your caller ID may even back up that claim. The caller says your social security number has been used to fraudulently apply for a credit card or commit another crime. In order to fix the situation, the caller needs you to confirm your SSN and other personal information. If you don’t cooperate, the caller threatens to take you to court or have your Social Security number blocked or revoked.
No matter the details, the stories are designed to induce fear. Scammers hope that under pressure you will tell them your SSN and other sensitive personal information. Scammers can use SSNs to commit identity theft and file tax returns in your name to steal your refund.
How to Avoid the Scam
- Never give personal information to unsolicited callers. If someone contacts you without your permission, refuse to tell them any personal information.
- Remember, the SSA will never call you asking for your Social Security number. They will never ask you to pay anything, nor will they threaten your benefits.
- Don’t trust your caller ID. The internet has made it possible for scammers to use fake IDs when they call your home. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.
- Contact the Social Security Administration: If you are concerned about a call you received from someone who claims to be with the SSA, you can call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
For More Information
To learn more about other kinds of scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips.