GREENSBORO, N.C. — Last year, there were over 700,000 telephone scams reported, with victims losing on average $5,800.
The scam involves a phone call from someone posing as a local or government official. They may even use robocalls and follow up with emails or texts to convince you they are investigating you. They will claim your Social Security number has been compromised or has been suspended for fraudulent activity.
The scammer then tries to get the victim’s personal information to reroute their Social Security payments to a different account.
Don’t fall for these tricks! If you are suspicious of the person on the other end of the line, it’s probably for a good reason.
Don’t give out any information. Hang up right away and report the call to the Social Security Administration.
- Know The Source
- Always ask the person to verify who they are and write down their name. The Social Security Administration does occasionally contact recipients, but it is pretty rare. You would likely know about it before the phone rings.
- If you have been overpaid, the Administration will not ask you to make a payment by gift card or prepaid debit cards. They will likely deduct from future payments or accept a check.
- Protect Your Information
- Don’t give out your Social Security number to just anyone. If it’s being used to verify who you are, ask if you can give just the last four numbers rather than your full Social Security number.
- Change your passwords often to make it harder for scammers to get into your accounts.
- Don’t use the same password for everything. If one site is hacked, that scammer could potentially have information for all of your accounts.
- Read Credit Reports Annually
- Take advantage of the free credit report you are entitled to once a year. If you notice any problems, act quickly.
- You can contact the credit bureaus and ask them to put a fraud alert or credit freeze on your accounts.