The AARP Fraud Watch Network was recently debriefed by the Office of the Acting Inspector General (OIG) of a new telephone scam that is becoming more prevalent by the day. Scammers are spoofing the Social Security Administration’s 1-800 number (which means they make it appears on your caller ID as if the actual federal agency is calling you) in order to get you to provide vital personal information.

HOW IT WORKS: 

  • The OIG advises that scammers are spoofing caller IDs to trick people into thinking that the Social Security Administration is calling. Spoofing involves using technology to change the number that appears on a caller ID to something different. In this case, the calls appear to be coming from the Social Security Administration (SSA) by displaying the phone number 1-800-772-1213, which is the SSA’s national customer service number.
  • The caller verbally identifies as an SSA employee and then attempts to engage with the recipients and get them to provide important financial or personal information.
  • The typical stated reason for the call is to collect additional information to increase the person’s benefit payment or to prevent benefits from being terminated.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW: 

  • SSA employees do contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes and in some situations, may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone.
  • However, SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information.
  • The OIG has more information about this scam on its website. To learn more visit https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness.

WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: 

  • If you receive a call like this, hang up.
  • You can report Social Security impostor scams to the Social Security Administration at 800-269-0271.
  • If you are concerned the SSA is trying to reach you, call them directly at 1-800-772-1213.
  • Be cautious anytime a caller asks you to provide sensitive personal or financial information such as your Social Security number or bank account information over the phone.

The South Dakota Department of Consumer Protections is doing all it can to combat telephone solicitations and scams.  Visit their telemarketing information page for more tips to help you combat fraudulent calls.  When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You can join the Fraud Watch Network and receive alerts about scams happening in South Dakota. Any one of any age can join for free by visiting aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork or to receive Fraud Watch Network alerts by phone, call 1-866-542-8172.