Watch Out for Fake Calls from Social Security
You answer your phone, and the person on the other end of the line claims to be a representative from Social Security. They inform you of a dire situation pertaining to your benefits, such as an overpayment or a problem with your account, and instruct you to call another number to provide personal information or payment. You want to address this issue right away, because it sounds serious…
Wait! These situations are almost always a scam.
Con artists understand that no one wants to get on Social Security’s bad side. A problem with your benefits could cause months of hassle and headache, and most of us are understandably eager to clear up any issues right away. Knowing this, scammers imply a sense of urgency, so that you will comply with their demands without thinking clearly first. They trick you into phony payments, or into giving out personal information that can be used to steal your identity.
Technology has also aided con artists in their schemes. Nowadays these unscrupulous types can create 1-800 numbers, or other phone numbers that appear to be originating from legitimate government offices. Unfortunately, you can’t always trust your Caller ID anymore.
The truth is, Social Security won’t call you about a problem with your benefits. In the event of an over-payment or some other problem with your Social Security benefits, they will send a letter in the mail. The letter will give detailed instructions on how to fix the situation. In the event that you need to ask questions, you can call Social Security yourself or visit your local office.
If you receive a suspicious call, do not offer any personal information or send a payment! Instead, hang up the phone and call Social Security’s fraud hotline, at 1-800-269-0271. As long as you didn’t share any personal information, you will be safe.