Avoid These Social Security Phone Scams
Your social security number is a number you should keep to yourself. If it falls into the wrong hands, it’s too easy for a scammer to open credit cards in your name, gain access to your bank accounts, and steal your identity.
Social security phone scams in which the caller attempts to solicit your social security information are becoming increasingly common. And older adults are not the only ones preyed upon by scammers. Young adults are targeted as well. To help avoid identify theft and fraud, here are some of the most popular social security phone scams.
1. Offers to Open New Accounts
In this scam, the callers may say they are from a credit card company or work at your bank. They may tell you they have a special offer you can apply for over the phone.
For instance, they may tell you if you open a new credit card or bank account, you could get a $500 bonus for the first month. Only after you go through the process of giving them your personal information (including your social security number), do you realize they’re scamming you. There is no credit card; no new bank account.
To protect yourself from this scam, only open a credit card or bank account in-person at your bank’s branch, or via a phone call that you make to the lender.
2. Your Social Security Number is Expiring!
Social security numbers never expire, so if you get a call from someone stating you need to verify your social security number in order to “renew” it, that is definitely a scam! The same goes for calls in which callers claim you need to provide your social security number in order to verify your tax records, release a hold on your bank account, etc.
3. Reports of Links to Criminal Activity
These social security phone scams may come as a robocall. You may initially think you’re talking with a person because the voice sounds natural. But if you listen closely, you’ll realize the responses are pre-recorded.
The callers insist your social security number has been linked to criminal activity. They may even tell you that you have been a victim of identity theft! Here’s the kicker: They request you give them your social security number to resolve the problem.
Hang up on this call.The best way to ensure nobody has opened accounts in your name is to check your credit report regularly. The real Social Security Administration (SSA) is never going to surprise-call you and ask for your complete social security number.
4. Good News and/or Reports of an Increase in Benefits
If you are a retired adult collecting social security benefits, this is one to really watch out for. Someone may call and tell you that they have good news: Your benefits are due to increase! They hope you’ll be so excited that you’ll think nothing of giving them your social security number to approve the increase.
The best way to protect yourself from social security phone scams is to never give your number over the phone. The SSA rarely contacts people by phone, and they don’t need your social security number. Similarly, banks don't call you with amazing credit card offers unless you’ve previously been in contact and requested they call.
Scammers are everywhere, but if you’re vigilant, they’re easy to discourage. When in doubt, hang up.