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Protect Yourself from Phone Scams

Be on the lookout for fake Social Security calls

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Protect Yourself from Phone Scams  
Submitted by the Cooperative Credit Union Association, January 6, 2020
Be on the lookout for fake Social Security calls
There are many telephone scams going on. Scammers are trying to trick you into giving them your personal information and money. Don’t be fooled!  
Social Security phone scams are the #1 type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and Social Security. Over the past year, these scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed.
Social Security encourages you to use the new online form to report Social Security phone scams to disrupt the scammers and help us reduce this type of fraud, and reduce the number of victims.
“We are taking action to raise awareness and prevent scammers from harming Americans,” said Andrew Saul, Commissioner of Social Security. “I am deeply troubled that our country has not been able to stop these crooks from deceiving some of the most vulnerable members of our society.”
Social Security employees will occasionally contact you by telephone or mail for business purposes if you have ongoing business with the agency. However, Social Security employees will not:

  • Threaten you.
  • Tell you that your Social Security Number has been, or might be, suspended.
  • Call you to demand an immediate payment.
  • Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
  • Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a pre-paid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
  • Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
  • Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.
  • Request personal or financial information through email, text messages, or social media.
Remember that Social Security employees will never threaten you. If there’s a problem with your Social Security record, Social Security will mail you a letter. If Social Security needs you to submit payments, the agency will provide instructions in the letter, including options to make those payments.
“Awareness is our best hope to thwart the scammers,” said Gail Ennis, Inspector General for Social Security. “Tell your friends and family about them and report them to us when you receive them, but most importantly, just hang up and ignore the calls.”
If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security, please:
  • Hang up right away.
  • Never give your personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
  • Report the scam at ssa.gov to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).  Visit now


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