By Tracy Sanders, Co-Owner/Co-Editor
In one day recently, I received 10 calls claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA).
The call sounded like a robotic voice, stating that the “State Department is filing lawsuit against you. An arrest warrant has been released on your name, due to legal enforcement actions filed on your social security number for fraudulent activities. To get more information about this case file from federal database press one and speak to our agent now.”
Having heard about these telephone scams on news reports, I immediately hung up. I’m not sure what would have happened if I had not hung up and pressed one instead. Maybe my telephone number could have been cloned, maybe somehow these crooks would have gained access to my account, or maybe I would have been connected with someone telling me if I didn’t wire them thousands of dollars, S.W.A.T. would be on my lawn in seconds to whisk me away to prison.
Even though I knew the call was a scam, it still scared me and sent my heart racing.
The SSA is taking action to crack down on these telephone scammers.
In a recent press release from the SSA, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul said, “I want every American to know that if a suspicious caller states there is a problem with their Social Security number or account, they should hang up and never give the caller money or personal information.”
Saul encourages people to report the scam call online at oig.ssa.gov.
The SSA is also warning people about new versions of this scam – emails with fake documents. These fraudulent emails will have letters and reports attached that appear to be from the Social Security Administration. These letters are very convincing, using official letterhead and government jargon and may also contain grammar mistakes and have misspelled words.
Generally, if there is a problem with a person’s Social Security number or record, a letter will be mailed with instructions and payment options. People should never provide information or payment over the phone or Internet unless they are certain of who is receiving it.
The SSA that the agency will not:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact 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 prepaid 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.
Watch the public service announcement from the SSA addressing the telephone impersonation scheme: