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Social Security Scams: What You Need to Know

LeeAnn Riddle   |  April 30, 2019   |  

Social security scams are on the rise.

The Social Security Administration (SSA) takes protecting your investment and personal information very seriously and they have a very vigorous security policy in place regarding the exchange of your personal information online.

Despite these safeguards, Social Security scams are common.

In fact, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reports that in 2018, at least 35,000 people reported Social Security scams, collectively losing at least $10 million.

Social security scam calls and “phishing”

However, social security scam artists use clever “phishing” schemes to defraud millions of people every year.  Phishing is the practice of using email purporting to be from reputable companies to induce people to reveal personal information.

Some scam artists may call you on the phone, as well.

How do these social security scams work?

Social Security Scam Phone Calls - Riddle & BrantleyThese scam artists often intend to steal your personal identity and/or money from your bank account.

The email or caller may ask for personal information such as:

  • your social security number
  • your date of birth
  • your mother’s maiden name
  • your bank account numbers
  • your credit or debit card numbers

Never provide any of this information to these individuals either by email or over the phone.

What a social security scam call sounds like

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently shared a recording of a social security scam call. Learn more about what a social security scam phone call sounds like.

Social Security Scam Artists - Riddle & BrantleyThe FTC also cautions that scammers often “fake” the Social Security Administration’s real phone number — 1-800-772-1213 — so that the call appears legitimate on caller ID. Just because your caller ID says it’s the Social Security Administration, does not mean that it actually is.

Here are some important things to keep in mind to safeguard your Social Security number and other personal and financial information:

  • The Social Security Administration will never ask for your Social Security number over the phone. Never share your Social Security number or financial information or personal information with anyone who contacts you.
  • SSA will never threaten your Social Security benefits, and they will never request that you send cash, wire money, or put money on gift cards.

How do I know what’s real and what’s not?

It is possible that a Social Security Administration employee may need to follow-up with you for some reason.

Remember, if you are unsure as to whether or not a call from the Social Security Administration is legitimate, hang up and contact the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.

Closer to home…

As recently as April 2019, our own managing partner Gene Riddle received 5 calls in one day from 844-369-0711, notifying him that his Social Security number had been compromised and he needed to call back immediately. Gene immediately recognized this as a scam.

It’s important to be smart. Please don’t fall for these scams. And if you suspect something is not right, be sure to call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213.