If a Social Security representative called you, and told you that they suspected fraud related to your account, how would you react? What if this person told you that your accounts would be frozen unless you cooperate with their investigation, and confirm important personal details? Unfortunately, many people would fulfill the requests, because this situation does sound scary. We say “unfortunately”, because this phone call probably is a scam, and it’s catching a lot of unsuspecting Americans by surprise lately.
The person on the other end of the line is likely not a Social Security representative at all. They may be a con artist, and their ploy was designed to make you panic and give them information without thinking about it first. They ask for details such as your Social Security number, date of birth, and mother’s maiden name… then use that information to get loans or credit cards in your name. They might even obtain fake identification and set up a false life as you.
In reality, it would be unusual for Social Security to spot a problem related to your number. And they wouldn’t call you with threats of freezing your bank account. In the event that the Administration needs to communicate with you, they will send a letter in the mail. If they ever call you on the phone, it’s because you called them first and they’re just getting back to you.
In the event that you receive one of these calls, follow these steps:
- Do not offer or confirm any identifying information
- Hang up the phone
- Call this number: 1-800-269-0271. This is the Social Security fraud hotline. Tell them what happened, and they can reassure you that there is nothing wrong regarding your account.
One final note: This scam can be operated via email, too. Social Security will not email you, so delete and report any suspicious emails. Whatever you do, don’t click links in the email and don’t reply to it!
We will continue to bring you updates on issues that affect your Social Security or retirement plans in general. In the meantime, schedule a “check-up” with us, and we can review your plans for the future.