What Is A Phishing Scam
A phishing scam is performed either over the phone or through email. The scammer attempts to fish for your personal information. They do this by tricking you into believing the communication is from a trusted source. For example, they might send an email that appears to be from your bank asking you to verify your SSN or account number. If you send this information, the scammer will have access to it and can use it for improper purposes. If you get any suspicious calls or emails, you should not respond to them. Instead, contact your financial institution directly to determine whether it is a valid communication.
What To Do If Your Social Security Card Is Lost Or Stolen
In the digital age, the notion of losing your wallet or purse with your Social Security card lodged inside may seem like a low-risk or no-risk affair. But people do suffer lost or stolen wallets all the time. Pairing that experience with a lost Social Security card only doubles the pain.
While there are dependable ways to avoid losing your Social Security card like locking it away in a safe place and keeping the card out of your wallet or pocket people still lose their Social Security cards. Make no mistake, getting a card back can be a bit of a process. This article covers everything you need to know and answers the big question: What do I do if I lost my Social Security card?
Reporting Possible Social Security Fraud
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Medicare And Social Security Scams
Minnesota senior citizens report being targeted by a new scam: fraudulent operators who pretend to be calling about Medicare, Social Security, or supplemental insurance, but whose actual purpose is to trick seniors into disclosing their private financial information. Disclosure of such information can lead to identity theft or unauthorized withdrawals from a personâs bank account. Consider the following to help prevent this scam from happening to you, or someone you care about.
In 2020 Victims Were Swindled Out Of Nearly $45 Million In Social Security
This is the story of how my sister nearly fell for a Social Security scam. Her panicked call to me as she was on the line with a criminal trying to steal her money illustrates just how people fall for this type of fraud.
No doubt youve received a similar call, either from an individual or a recorded voice, claiming your Social Security number has been compromised because of criminal activity. You are told unless you respond immediately usually by sending money, buying gift cards or revealing bank account details youll be arrested or your Social Security number will be suspended.
Its a lie, but one that is so believable, last year victims were swindled out of nearly $45 million, with an average individual loss of $5,800, according to the Office of the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. More than 700,000 complaints of Social Security-related telephone scams were filed in 2020. A suburban Chicago man pleaded guilty early this year to laundering cash from a scheme that defrauded elderly victims. The scam allegedly conned an elderly Massachusetts woman out of $900,000 that she was urged to transfer from her bank and retirement accounts.
Social Security numbers cant be suspended. No government agency will ask you to pay with gift cards. The feds will never threaten arrest or legal action unless you immediately send cash.
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Review Your Credit Reports Carefully
When you receive your credit reports, read them carefully. Look for accounts you dont recognize. Look in the inquiries section for names of creditors from whom you havent requested credit. You may find some inquiries identified as promotional. These occur when a company has gotten your name and address from a credit bureau to send you an offer of credit. Promotional inquiries are not signs of fraud. Also, as a general precaution, look in the personal information section to verify your Social Security number, address and name.
If you find anything you dont understand, call the credit bureau at the telephone number listed on the report. Tell them you want to block, or remove, any information on the report that is the result of identity theft. For more on what to tell the credit bureaus, see the Privacy Rights Clearinghouses Identity Theft: What to Do When It Happens to Youwww.privacyrights.org/fs/fs17a.htm
Trust Verify The Recipient
Some people and organizations have a valid reason to receive such documents, including a new employer, your accountant, a bank, a landlord or a school. Even then, though, proceed with caution. Resist surrendering the information to practically everyone else, no matter how innocent their request seems.
Be extremely wary of providing your Social Security number to someone who has called you. You should verify the identity of the person you are speaking with if you didnt reach out directly.
Just dont do so by calling back a provided phone number or clicking on a text link. Moreover, unless the answer is obvious the accountant youve been using for years to prepare your tax returns ask a would-be recipient why they want the information in the first place and how they intend to secure it. Also ask what will happen if you decline to give out the information.
Some businesses continue to use Social Security numbers as a means of authenticating customers or simply as a practice they just never let go of, says Kathy Stokes, AARPs director of fraud prevention programs who also is head of the AARP Fraud Watch Network. Consider pushing back and asking if theres an alternative.
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Report Scams To Third Parties
You may want to report the scam to organizations outside of the government. Third parties may be able to get your money back or remove fraudulent charges.
Report a scam that happened with an online seller or a payment transfer system to the companys fraud department.
If you used your credit card or bank account to pay a scammer, report it to the card issuer or bank. Also report scams to the major credit reporting agencies. Place a fraud alert on your credit report to prevent someone from opening credit accounts in your name.
Password Reset Emails In Your Inbox
If you begin receiving mysterious password reset emails, then this could signal a problem. This could be a sign that someone is attempting to change the password to your accounts without your knowledge. Never click on the links in these emails. It could be a phishing scam designed to capture your SSN or other sensitive information. If the email is from an account or company you recognize, then you should log on directly to their website and change your password immediately. If someone has gained access to your account, then changing your password should keep them out going forward.
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Key Causes And Protection Steps Against Social Security Number Theft: Internet Scambusters #464
Social Security number theft is big business, mostly because people dont safeguard their wallets and purses.
But there are other ways crooks get their hands on this vital piece of information, including dumpster diving, as we reveal in this weeks issue.
We also explain the steps you can take to avoid your Social Security Number from falling into the wrong hands.
And now for the main feature
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Don’t Take Your Social Security Data For Granted
Your Social Security card, and number, are your financial lifelines to the U.S. government, in the form of benefits, key documents , and personal identification. It’s also a number that’s widely used by financial, business and medical institutions to manage individual accounts.
That’s why it’s so important to safeguard your Social Security data, and keep fraud artists away from you, and wall you off from Social Security fraud.
Types Of Social Security Fraud
Social Security fraud can be categorized in different ways:
Social Security benefits fraud occurs when an individual applies for Social Security benefits and intentionally provides bogus application information.
Shielding or Concealing Personal Information
Concealing personal data or information that could impact Social Security payments and benefits is another form of Social Security fraud. Accepting Social Security income for a child not under one’s care and supervision is a good example of “concealment” fraud.
When an individual steals or otherwise directly benefits from Social Security payments, while acting as a representative for a legitimate beneficiary who is incapacitated, that constitutes Social Security fraud. Stealing the identity of, or otherwise impersonating a Social Security Administration staffer or manager, is also considered Social Security fraud.
Purchase or Sale of Social Security IDs and Data
This form of Social Security fraud is defined as the buying and selling of Social Security cards, or Social Security information, on the black market or dark web.
Illegitimate Deceased Benefits Fraud
Failure to notify the Social Security Administration of the death of a family member beneficiary while continuing to accept the deceased’s Social Security benefits counts as Social Security fraud.
Supplemental Social Security Fraud
Representative Payee Fraud
“Failure to Report” Fraud
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When Should I Use A Credit Freeze
Its a good idea to consider a credit freeze in a few situations, including these.
- Youve been the victim of a data breach. If your personally identifiable information has been exposed, cybercriminals could try to open new accounts in your name. A credit freeze can provide an extra layer of protection. Lenders wont be able to access your credit file, making it unlikely that theyll grant credit to anyone using your Social Security number.
- You believe youve been the victim of identity theft. You may start receiving bills for accounts you dont recognize. Or you may receive calls from collection agencies seeking payment on accounts you never opened. These are likely signals that you might be the victim of identity theft. A credit freeze could help prevent criminals from opening more accounts using your personal information.
- You want to protect against identity theft for a child. A provision of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief and Consumer Protection Act authorizes parents or guardians of children under 16 to set up a credit report for their child and then freeze it at no cost. This can help you protect against child identity theft.
How To Report A Social Security Scam
If you suspect youve been the victim of a scam or simply want to report calls or correspondence that you find suspicious, you have several options. You can call your local authorities or the OIG hotline or submit a fraud report on the OIG’s website.
You can also report the scam on the FTCs complaint website. Make sure you document anything you can to add to your report, such as a telephone number or website, the name the caller gave, the time and date of the call or email, what information you were asked for, and anything else that might help identify the scamster.
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Finding Your Social Security Number
If you have a Social Security Number, you can find it on your Social Security card. Some other places that you can find your SSN are on tax returns, W-2s and bank statements. You may even find it on previously filed USCIS forms. However, if you do not have an SSN, you may generally answer N/A in the space provided on USCIS forms. Most individuals with nonimmigrant visas do not have Social Security numbers.
You may also be able to recover your SSN from an employer. Employers generally keep Social Security information on file. Check with your employer to obtain a copy of the number.
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.
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Prepaid Cards Bitcoin E
The Government of Canada will not demand immediate payment by Interac e-transfer, bitcoin, prepaid credit cards or gift cards.
If you are sure you owe the Government of Canada money, there are accepted methods of payment. For example, the Canada Revenue Agency has a Payment options for individuals and businesses page that lists accepted payment methods.
How Does The Social Security Administration Calculate Benefits
Benefits also depend on how much money youâve earned in life. The Social Security Administration takes your highest-earning 35 years of covered wages and averages them, indexing for inflation. They give you a big fat âzeroâ for each year you donât have earnings, so people who worked for fewer than 35 years may see lower benefits.
The Social Security Administration also makes annual Cost of Living Adjustments, even as you collect benefits. That means the retirement income you collect from Social Security has built-in protection against inflation. For many people, Social Security is the only form of retirement income they have that is directly linked to inflation. Itâs a big perk that doesnât get a lot of attention.
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When Should I Freeze My Credit
If youve been a victim of identity theft, you have more than one option to consider when it comes to protecting your credit. In many cases, a security alert may be sufficient.
When you place a security alert, also known as a fraud alert, you can add a telephone number so lenders can call you when they receive an application and verify that its you who is applying. You also can request additional free credit reports when you add an initial security alert or victim statement. Reviewing your report can help you determine whether or not you are a victim and help you take appropriate action.
In more extreme cases in which youre experiencing ongoing fraud attempts, you may feel a security freeze is necessary.
Its worth considering taking action to protect your credit if:
- Unexplained bills or collection notices are mailed to your address, in your name or under anothers name.
- New inquiries or credit accounts appear on your credit report, indicating activity with lenders or other companies you dont recognize.
- Your bank or credit union notifies you about fraudulent activity on an account.
- You receive notification that you are or could be the victim of a data breach.
What Is A Social Security Agreement
A social security agreement is an international agreement between Canada and another country that is designed to coordinate the pension programs of the two countries for people who have lived or worked in both countries.
Canada has signed social security agreements with a number of other countries that offer comparable pension programs.
The requirements under the social security agreements vary from agreement to agreement. It is important to check the details of the agreement that relates to you.
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How To Get A Replacement Social Security Card
To get a Social Security replacement card, visit the SSAs My Social Security account website. Youll be taken through the steps of requesting a replacement card. Keep in mind that you can use this online site to request a replacement card if you:
To apply for a replacement Social Security card, either online or via mail, youll need one acceptable personal identification document. By and large, your birth certificate will suffice, although the SSA will also accept the following proof of identity:
- A U.S. hospital record of your birth.
- A religious record indicating your date of birth .
- A current valid U.S. passport.
- A final adoption decree .
There are several exceptions if you cant get the needed identification documents, or dont have them at all. The SSA will accept other forms of identification that show your legal name and biographical data. Acceptable options include a U.S. military I.D. card, a U.S. Certificate of Naturalization, employee identity card, a certified copy of a medical record , a health insurance card, Medicaid card, or school identity card.