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Identifying and Preventing Social Security Fraud

 

If you're among the millions of Americans receiving Social Security benefits, you must be aware of the potential for scams targeting your personal information. Dive into fraudsters' tactics and how to protect yourself from becoming a victim.

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Key Takeaways

  1. Over 27,000 social security fraud cases reported in 2022, leading to losses over $75 million.
  2. Be wary of phone calls from fake SSA representatives asking for personal information.
  3. The SSA never requests personal details via email; avoid phishing attempts.
  4. Ignore demands for payments related to social security benefits or threats of blocked numbers.
  5. Stay informed and report suspicious activities to the SSA or FTC for your safety.

Table of Contents

  1. Understanding the Threat
  2. Protecting Yourself from Common Scams
  3. Staying Vigilant

Understanding the Threat

In 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recorded over 27,000 incidents of social security fraud, culminating in a massive loss exceeding $75 million for the victims. Being informed about the common scams can significantly decrease the chances of falling prey to these fraudsters.

Protecting Yourself from Common Scams

Here are some of the most frequently encountered scams and practical tips for safeguarding yourself:

Fraudulent Phone Calls

Fraudsters impersonating Social Security Administration (SSA) representatives often use phone calls to deceive individuals. These scammers may inform you that your social security number is linked to criminal activities, sometimes using scare tactics or threaten legal actions. Remember the following:

  • The SSA will never call to verify your personal information.
  • Always contact the SSA yourself if personal information needs to be confirmed.

Email Phishing

Email phishing scams employ official-looking documents that resemble genuine SSA communications, aiming to lure you into revealing personal information. Here's how to identify and avoid them:

  • The SSA does not request personal details via email.
  • Be cautious and avoid clicking on suspicious links or providing personal information.

Monetary Requests

Scammers might attempt to extract money, presenting various plausible scenarios, such as offering additional social security benefits or asserting the need to cover government fees. Keep these points in mind:

  • The SSA will not ask for payments through email or phone.
  • Your social security number cannot be "blocked" or "disabled" as threatened by these fraudsters.

Staying Vigilant

While the threat of scams is ever-present, knowledge remains your best defense. If you are unsure about the legitimacy of a communication purportedly from the SSA, please contact them directly to verify its authenticity.

If you believe you have fallen victim to fraud, contact the SSA at 800-266-0271 or file a claim on the FTC website. For more fraud prevention tips, visit the FSB Security Center.

FSB Security Center

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Sources:
https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/020415/what-are-top-social-security-scams-targeted-elderly.asp
https://www.forbes.com/advisor/retirement/social-security-scams/
https://www.ssa.gov/fraud/#:~:text=Making%20false%20statements%20on%20claims,receive%20the%20deceased%20person's%20benefits
https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/102814/what-are-most-common-scams-regarding-social-security-benefits.asp#toc-which-social-security-scams-are-common

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