Your social security number is a major target for scammers, and they will devise all sorts of tricks to get it from you. Once they get it, they can use it to make fraudulent transactions that can leave you in serious financial trouble.
There are several common scams that target social security information and benefits. These scams normally involve fraudsters who masquerade as social security employees or institutions so they can get your personal information, including your social security number.
Here are some of the scams that you should be wary of:
1. Phishing Emails
You may receive an email that looks as if it has been sent from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Such emails will sometimes direct you to a website that looks very much like an official government website. You should realize that SSA and the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) recently advised members of the public to be wary of any emails from the SSA asking for any social security document or personal information. These emails are a scam.
2. Fraudulent Calls
Cases of scammers using phone calls to extract your personal information are on the rise. One common scam involves a caller asking for your social security number and bank details in order to process requests. Some fraudsters will even call to offer a new Social Security card. You can confirm the authenticity of such calls by contacting the SSA through their toll-free line at 800-772-1213.
3. Spoof Websites
There are a number of websites out there which look like the SSA website and have a platform where you can request a replacement social security card. You should be wary of such sites as most of them are geared to harvest your personal information to be used in fraudulent activities.
4. Fake Letters
You shouldn’t be quick to trust letterheads on the mail you receive either. Simply because a piece of paper claims to come from the SSA or has government symbols in its letterhead doesn’t mean it’s legitimate. Many people complain every year of receiving direct mail that appears to be sent by the SSA but is actually fake. For example, you may receive a letter offering to provide a service, like helping you obtain a Social Security number for your child or obtain personal earnings and benefit estimate statements at a small fee.
You should realize that you can always apply for these services on your own, either online or by personally visiting your nearest Social Security office. So, you should not provide your personal information if asked in those letters. Otherwise, you may end up being a victim of identity theft.
Social security scams are very common in the United States, and the scammers largely target older Americans who normally treat Social Security with a high level of importance. Scammers will try to get your social security number and other personal information. By knowing their tricks, you’ll be able to shield yourself and your loved ones against their conniving ways.