Government impostors have been a plague for years, but in 2019, they really upped their game. New data from the Federal Trade Commission show a startling climb in reports by consumers of these scams. The government entity most impersonated last year and continuing into 2020 is the Social Security Administration.
How It Works
• You get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration saying your Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity or that it was used in a crime.
• This or a subsequent call threatens consequences, such as arrest, loss of benefits or suspension of your Social Security number, if you do not provide payment or personal information.
• You may even receive an email allegedly from the Social Security Administration that contains a link to register for a program to “protect yourself from Social Security fraud.” Unfortunately, it’s a scam, and the website, which may look real, will be used to gather and steal your information.
The Social Security Administration will not call you unless you are expecting to hear from the agency about an existing issue.
• The Social Security Administration will not ask you for your Social Security number; they already have it.
• The Social Security Administration does not suspend Social Security numbers, for any reason, EVER.
What You Should Do
• Hang up if someone calls you claiming to be from the Social Security Administration. If you are concerned it may be a legitimate call, dial the main number (1-800-772-1213) rather than the number the caller provides you.
• Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you.
• Report scam attempts like these to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. Please share this alert with friends and family and visit the Fraud Watch Network.