What To Do If You Received A Phone Call Saying Your Social Security Number Has Been Suspended
If you receive a call stating that your Social Security number has been suspended, you should hang up immediately. These scammers want to keep you on the phone and convince you that the scam is real. Your best option is to get off the phone with them right away. You should also notify the Federal Trade Commission of this call. The FTC receives thousands of similar complaints each year, but continuing to receive the information from consumers about these types of calls helps that agency fight these scams. In fact, the FTC reported in 2019 that it received 36,000 complaints for calls of this type within a two month period, and that number has only grown last year as a result of the pandemic. The Social Security scam has officially taken over the IRS imposter scam as the biggest source of fraudulent activity calls out there.
Fraudulent Friendly Service Phone Calls
Another type of scam call attempts to sell to the recipient services the SSA readily provides at no charge. The caller might, for example, offer to provide a new Social Security card, enroll a new family member in the program, or provide a record of Social Security contributions to date, along with the expected future income they will yield.
Does The Social Security Office Make Phone Calls
In certain situations, the Social Security office does make outbound phone calls. However, they only make these calls after you have initiated the conversation with them. For example, maybe you called in to ask about some information within your Social Security account. They might need to perform some research to get the answer, so they will opt to call you back once they have the information. You will never get a call from them out of the blue without having contacted them first.
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Fraudulent Threatening Phone Calls
When the National Council on Aging announced its “Scams to Watch Out For” in 2019, bogus phone calls related to Social Security benefits topped the list. The Federal Trade Commission says the number of such calls and their financial impact is growing exponentially.
The calls often involve peopleor robotic voicespretending to be from the Social Security Administration who try to get your Social Security number or demand money, according to the FTC. The agency warns that callers sometimes use spoofing techniques to make the genuine Social Security hotline number appear on the recipients caller ID screen. The caller may also identify themselves using the name of an actual SSA official.
The SSA says the language used in these calls has become increasingly threatening in recent years. The caller typically states that due to improper or illegal activity with the persons Social Security number or account, they will be arrested or face other legal action unless they call a particular phone number to address the issue.
The tone of such calls is itself an indicator that they are fraudulent. The SSA does contact some recipients by phone, but theyre almost always people who have current business with the agency. And an SSA employee will never threaten you for information they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information, the agency says. In cases the call is fraudulent.
Fake Email Headers And Phishing
Victims can also be reeled in by phishing emails that appear to be messages from the SSA. The emails may have attachments that resemble actual letters from the SSA, complete with the agency’s seal and similar font styles. The email messages may also direct readers to a fake web page designed to look like the real SSA website.
The motive is to obtain personal information from you, which you should never provide. The same clues of fraudulent intent as with the phone calls apply here. The SSA says that legitimate emails from the agency never seek personal information and do not adopt an alarmist or threatening tone.
The Social Security Administration says it will never use intimidating or threatening language in any form of communication.
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Tip : Monitor Your Accounts And Be Aware Of New Accounts Being Opened
If someone obtains your SSN, you may find evidence of unlawful use in your bank, credit, or other accounts. Consider setting up alerts with your financial institutions to flag unusual activity, such as withdrawals or purchases over a certain amount. Watch for changes in your credit score. And check your credit reports. Youre entitled to a free credit report every 12 months from each of the three major credit reporting agencies. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com.
Us Attorneys Office Reminds East Texans To Beware Of Social Security Scam Calls
BEAUMONT, Texas In connection with the Social Security Administrations March 4th National Slam the Scam Day, the United States Attorneys Office for the Eastern District of Texas reminds the public to be vigilant of Social Security scam calls.
For the past year, we have seen a steady increase in Social Security-related scam calls, said Acting U.S. Attorney Nicholas J. Ganjei. The financial exploitation of older Americans will not be tolerated. We are partnering with the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General to spread the word about these scams. We encourage anyone who receives such calls to hang up.
We are working with the Department of Justice and law enforcement agencies across the United States to combat Social Security imposter scamsbut our best weapon in this fight will always be awareness, said Inspector General Gail S. Ennis. I want to thank the many agencies and organizations that have joined us in our effort this year to alert Americans to hang up on suspicious calls, and talk to their family and friends about phone scams.
The U.S. Attorneys Office and SSA-OIG offer the following information about how to spot these scams:
- SSA may call you in some situations, but will NEVER call you and:
- Tell you that your Social Security Number has been suspended or offer to increase your benefits or resolve an identity theft issue for a fee.
- Threaten you with arrest or legal action if you do not immediately pay a debt, fine, or fee.
What Information Does The Number Not Provide
Most significantly, and perhaps surprisingly, criminal records are not tied to SSNs. An individuals criminal charge may or may not include their SSN, so a clean criminal record check using SSN alone is not particularly meaningful. Its a start, but its by no means the whole story. However, using information gleaned from an SSN check that includes names and aliases as well as former addresses, skilled background screeners can search criminal records databases to find evidence of an individuals criminal history. So, while your SSN by itself will not reveal a criminal history, its nonetheless very difficult to run a thorough criminal background check without the additional information provided by a thorough SSN trace.
ByFahmida Y. Rashid07 May 2014
Your Social Security number is what an identity theft wants most. Heres how to protect your SSN, and who doesnt need to know it.
In 2011, agents from the Secret Service and the Internal Revenue Service, along with state and local police, launched Operation Rainmaker, a coordinated effort to bust a criminal ring operating in the Tampa, Florida, area.
Dozens of people were arrested, some of them well into the following year. Jewelry and luxury cars were seized. Many of the suspects were former drug dealers whod found a more reliable, less risky way of making money identity theft.
Where Do I Report Fake Social Security Calls
You should report these attempted Social Security fraud calls to the Office of the Inspector General. You can do this via a phone call or by visiting the website at https://oig.ssa.gov/. You should provide as much detail in your report as possible to help them thoroughly investigate the matter. You can also report Social Security phishing scams through this same method. Be prepared to provide your name, address, SSN, date of birth, and as much additional information as you are comfortable providing. Youll also need to let them know when and where the scam took place as well as which method was used to attempt to obtain your information.
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Can You Put A Freeze On Your Social Security Number
Yes, you can place a freeze on your own Social Security number. However, no one else can freeze or suspend your number, and the SSA will never suspend your number. The freeze mostly applies to the credit bureaus and prevents anyone from opening new credit in your name. You will still be able to receive your Social Security Disability benefits or retirements benefits. Unlike the message the caller attempts to convey, you cannot do anything to get your Social Security number suspended.
How To Identify A Scam Call
There are legal enforcement actions which have been filed on your social security number involving fraudulent activities, said the pre-recorded message when one viewer answered his phone.
The message asks you to call them back or they will begin legal proceedings against you. If you do call, they will attempt to get you to verify or confirm your social security number. Dont ever give your social security number to anyone by phone, not even the last four digits.
The Social Security Administration will never call you and threaten you with arrest or any other kind of legal action. You should just hang up the phone on anyone who makes those statements. If you worry a call you received could be legitimate, you can call that office directly. The number to the SSA is 1-800-772-1213.
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Tips For The Best Identity Protection
The best solution for a stolen identity is to prevent it from happening to you in the first place. You should always monitor your credit closely. You can accomplish this by enrolling in a service that alerts you to any changes or activity associated with your Social Security number.
In addition, check all of your current accounts frequently for suspicious activity. Be very cautious when releasing your Social Security number never give it out over the phone or email unless you initiated the contact with a known entity. Be skeptical of requests for your information. Many people become victims of identity theft after falling for a scam.
Be suspicious of anyone contacting you, even if they say theyre from a company you trust. In addition, be careful to shred all your mail containing account information or other personal data. Check your mailbox, and be sure to shred all credit offers. Whatever you do, always safeguard all personal information, and take action as soon as you suspect that something is wrong.
A Voicemail Says Your Social Security Number Is About To Be Suspended Scam
Cant be a scam, right? She had a nice British accent
CLEVELAND, OH -The Federal Trade Commission put out a warning about a scam going around, that tried to get my social security number.
Sitting at my desk on Monday my cell phone rang with a call from Los Molinos, California.
Odd because I dont know anyone from Los Molinos, so I didnt answer.
Two calls, from the same number, came in within five minutes of each other and both times they left a voicemail.
This is Deputy Commissioner Linda Cooper from Social Security Administration, a computerized female voice with a British accent said.
This is in reference to suspend your existing social security number on an immediate basis if your social has been suspected in illegal activity then.
With broken English the recording said I needed to call them back right away.
I did my research and found there is no Linda Cooper who works for the Social Security Administration.
Secondly, according to a report from the FTC, your social security number will never be suspended.
The FTC has gotten reports about scammers trying to trick people out of their personal information by telling them that they need to reactivate their supposedly suspended SSNs, the report said.
The scammers say the SSN was suspended because of some connection to fraud or other criminal activity. They say to call a number to clear it up where theyll ask you for personal information.
The scary things is this scam works and people have lost millions.
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Consider Subscribing To An Identity Theft Protection Service Like Complete Id
Complete IDs Social Security Number Monitoring service notifies you of all current and new names or aliases associated with your SSN, and provides clear instructions on what to do next.
Remember, no one can ever be 100% safe from Social Security identity theft. These simple steps can help safeguard your Social Security number and keep you informed. Complete ID can do the monitoring for you for as little as $8.99 per month per person for Executive Members*. .
This article is provided for general guidance and information. It is not intended as, nor should it be construed to be, legal, financial or other professional advice. Please consult with your attorney or financial advisor to discuss any legal issues or financial issues involved with credit decisions.
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There’s A Social Security Scam Going Around
According to the Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General, there’s a “nationwide telephone impersonation scheme” happening right now. Fraudsters are pretending to be government officials in hopes of stealing identities exactly what they did to me, all over the country.
We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet, Nancy A. Berryhill, the acting commissioner of Social Security, says in a news release. If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful … Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.
I didn’t give up my Social Security number, but my scam call definitely left me shook. I was especially confused by the man’s demeanor he patiently relayed his name and number as I scribbled them on the back of a MetroCard. He even spelled out his name, Christopher Morris.
This, along with the fact that he knew my own name and number, threw me. What kind of scammer voluntarily spells his name? What kind of criminal encourages you to contact the police?
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Tip : Be Careful Sharing Through Electronic Devices
There are risks in sharing your Social Security number by email, text, voicemail, and fax. For example, your SSN could get intercepted and read after you send your information. There are sometimes ways to help keep your information safe for instance, by using a VPN on an unprotected Wi-Fi network. But the safest way to share may be face to face with someone you know and trust.
Your Social Security number is a big responsibility and a vital component of your identity. You may not be able to control whether its exposed in a data breach. But theres still plenty you can do to help keep it safe.
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Can Your Social Security Number Be Suspended
In short, no, your Social Security number cannot be suspended, blocked, frozen, etc. The basis of this entire scam is frightening you into believing that your SSN is suspended. Without an active Social Security number, you might not receive your Social Security benefits or be able to apply for credit when you need it. Since millions of Americans rely on these benefits, they become scared that they will lose their sole source of income. You can rest assured that the Social Security Administration does not suspend numbers, so your number will remain active.
Just to make you aware, it is possible for you to put a freeze on your own number. You will still be able to receive your retirement benefits or other benefits that you might receive from the SSA, but your SSN cannot be used to open new credit accounts. You typically want to take this action when your SSN has been stolen or compromised. You can choose to place a temporary or permanent freeze on your number. If you need to apply for credit during the freeze, you can still do so, but it requires much more rigorous identity verification.
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Beware Of Calls Saying Your Social Security Number Is Suspended
A common phone call scam that people have been receiving states that your Social Security number is suspended for suspicious activity. It then prompts you to speak to a government agent in order to receive help resolving the issue.
This scam has been going on for over a year, if not longer, and are robocalls that pretend to be from a government official who states that suspicious or fraudulent activity associated with your social security number has been detected. The robocall then prompts you to call back or speak to an agent in order to resolve the issue.
As the FTC notes, Social Security numbers cannot be suspended, so any calls stating that they are is simply a scam. The attackers are just trying to trick you into providing your birth date, bank account numbers, social security numbers, and other sensitive information.
“Thing is, Social Security numbers do not get suspended,” the FTC states in an advisory. “This is just a variation of a government imposter scam thats after your SSN, bank account number, or other personal information. In this variation of the scheme, the caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while hes trying to lure you into one.”
When receiving a call about your Social Security number, it is important to remember these important facts:
These scam utilize different scripts when performing robocalls. A current script being used by this scams is: