Lately, scammers have been spoofing phone numbers of banks, doctor’s offices and other official agencies. Spoofing means that a scammer’s phone number will show up on your caller ID as an official number. Scammers have been doing this with the 1-800 number for the Social Security Administration (SSA) to try and collect vital personal information from people in order to steal their identities.
Recently, the AARP Fraud Watch Network was debriefed by the Office of Acting Inspector General (OIG) about this spoofing caller ID trick. When a person receives a call, the SSA’s customer service phone number, 1-800-772-1213, will show on the caller ID. The caller will verbally identify as an SSA employee who will ask for personal information under the guise of increasing benefit payments or to prevent benefits from being terminated.
What You Should Know:
- SSA employees do not contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes.
- In some situations, they may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone, but they will never ask for personal information.
- 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 their website. For more information, click here.
How to Protect Yourself:
- If you receive a call like this, HANG UP.
- Report Social Security impostor scams to the SSA at 1-800-269-0271.
- If you are concerned the SSA is trying to reach you, call them directly at 1-800-772-1213.
- Alert family and friends about this increasingly prevalent activity.
- Do not provide callers with sensitive personal or financial information such as your Social Security number or bank account information.
When it comes to fraud, vigilance is our number one weapon. You have the power to protect yourself and your loved ones from scams. In order to have the most up to date information on how to protect yourself from fraud, subscribe to Fraud Watch News Network emails here.
The AARP Fraud Watch Network can help you protect yourself and your family from frauds and scams. Call our free helpline at 877-908-3360 to speak with volunteers trained in fraud counseling.