Social Security Benefits: Phone Scam Overview
Nearly 61 million American receive Social Security benefits. For seniors it is often their main source of income and they depend on the monthly payments to support themselves. Of Americans ages 65 and older 9 out of 10 receive Social Security benefits.
Phone scammers have used this to their advantage posing as employees of the Social Security Administration (SSA) and preying on the elderly.
Like with Medicare phone scams and other impostor scams, callers will pose as SSA employees and state that there is a problem with the SSA computer system, or that they just need to verify some information. The caller will state it's important that they resolve this issue so that there is no delay in payment of Social Security benefits in the coming months.
The phone scammer will ask for sensitive information like Social Security number, birth date, address, mother's maiden name, and bank account information.
A SSA employee will never call you unsolicited and will not request sensitive information over the phone. If you have previously made an inquiry with the SSA, an employee may call to follow-up.
If you are unsure of whether or not a caller is actually from the SSA, hang up and call the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213.
Reporting These Cons
If you feel that you've been called by a SSA impostor, report it immediately to the Office of the Inspector General - Social Security Administration. You should record the phone number that called you, the name of the caller, what the caller stated their purpose was for calling, and the time and date of the call. By giving this information, you'll be able to help stop these types of phone scams.
You can also add this information to CallerSmart's online phone book. You will help warn other in your community by leaving your feedback on scamming phone numbers in our phone number directory or call tracing app for iPhone.
For more helpful resources on protecting the elderly from phone scams and fraud, check out our list of helpful resources for seniors.