Did you know that Social Security scams are the number one type of fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission? These scams often mislead seniors into believing that they need to make cash or gift card payments. They prey on fears that they must make these payments to avoid arrest for Social Security related issues. To avoid becoming a victim of Social Security scams, it is important to understand how these scams work. It is also important to understand what Social Security employees will and will not do when contacting you.
How Social Security Scams Work
Social Security scams work well because they use fear tactics to convince seniors to take action. These scam artists often call and state that they suspended the Social Security number pending legal action. They then bait individuals into submitting payments to avoid arrest or legal action.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, Social Security scams are growing in frequency. In 2017, 3,200 reported scams, resulting in a loss of $210,000. In 2018 that number grew to more than 35,000 reporting these types of scams. The result was a staggering $10 million in losses. Want to know what these scams sound like? The FTC recorded one of these scams so that consumers could listen to it.
Protecting Yourself From Scammers
It is important to understand how to prevent yourself from falling victim to these clever scam artists. Here is what to know about Social Security scammers and how to protect yourself.
- You never have to verify your Social Security number to anyone who calls
- The Social Security Administration (SSA) will not seize your bank accounts
- A Social Security employee will never call to threaten your benefits
- The SSA will never ask you to immediately send money, gift cards or cash cards
- If you are not sure if it is a scam, hang up and call the real SSA’s phone number back
- The real SSA will never ask for your bank account
- A real SSA employee will never ask for you to submit payments over the phone
- The SSA will never demand that you pay your debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe
- The SSA addresses most issues by sending personalized mailed letters
If you have any doubts about whether the phone call is legitimate, ask to call them back. Then call the actual Social Security number at 1-800-772-1213. Remember that a real Social Security employee will never threaten you. In fact, the majority of the time, the Social Security Administration will contact you by mail. If the SSA needs you to submit payments, they will send detailed explanations of those payments in a letter – not in a phone call.
The FTC wants all consumers to stay safe and aware of these scams. If you believe you are the target of a Social Security scam, just hang up the phone. Then report the event. To help encourage reporting, Social Security encourages everyone to use their new online form. You can file a report here. Reporting Social Security scams is the first step towards reducing this type of fraud.
Contact Our Oklahoma Social Security Attorneys Today
Social Security scams are unfortunately common. If you have questions about Social Security Disability Insurance or filing for benefits, we can help. At Troutman & Troutman, P.C., our Oklahoma Social Security attorneys understand the difficulties you face collecting benefits and avoid potential scams. That is why we offer comprehensive legal assistance every step of the way. In fact, disability law is all we do. To learn more call us at tel:(918) 265-1404 or fill out our confidential contact form. We can help you navigate the SSDI application and appeals process with ease.