The Social Security Administration (SSA) through a series of public service announcements is warning senior citizens of new telephone scams. in addition they are advising what to do if and when confronted.
The number of such telephone scams has significantly increased in recent years. Complaints have jumped jumped from 3,200 in 2017 to 35,000 in 2018. Financial loses increased from $210,000 to $10 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
Social Security: How To Recognize The Scams
The scams are fraudsters impersonating SSA employees. One variation is telling you that your social security number has been suspended and asking you for that number.
A second variation is threatening you with arrest if you don’t put your social security number on a gift card and give over that gift card number to them. The fraudster stays on the phone until that number is given.
A third version is threatening you with arrest if you don’t return their phone call. And another variation is offering you higher social security benefits if you pay them a fee.
Social Security: How To Handle These Scams
It is easy to get conned in many cases because the thieves use the SSA phone number, 1-800-772-1213, on their caller ID to make it look legitimate.
The best strategy is to avoid the scammers. Hang up the phone. The real Social Security office will never call you with these types of demands.
In addition, follow these procedures:
Never give out your Social Security number to anyone who telephones claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. They do not call beneficiaries. They send notifications through the mail. If you have set up an account on their web site, they can and will also contact you that way as well.
Never place money on a gift card; the SSA does not ask anyone for gift cards.
If you have received this type of scam phone call, immediately contact the SSA Office of the Inspector General, 1-800-269-0271.