Chances are, at one point or another, you’ve picked up the phone and heard an automated voice informing you that there’s an issue with your Social Security number. Most likely it was the result of a Social Security number suspended scam — a scam in which criminals tell you something has happened to your Social Security number, and it will soon be suspended.
If you were lucky, you quickly realized it was a scam, but every year lots of people are not so lucky. In fact, in 2020 alone, there were over 718,000 reports of Social Security imposter telephone scams, resulting in total losses of nearly $45 million, with the average individual loss being $5,800.
In general, Social Security scams all use the same techniques and follow the same patterns. Fortunately, this means that there are some telltale signs to watch out for, and if you know about them, can make detecting all types of Social Security scams much easier. Keep on reading to learn more!
How to detect Social Security scams — Does Social Security call you?
Social Security scams are everywhere, and if you were to fall for one, the resulting effects could be catastrophic. To help you avoid falling victim, we’ve put together our top four signs of Social Security scams.
1. You receive a phone call from the Social Security Administration (SSA). At some point, you’ve probably wondered “does Social Security call you?” or “how do I know if Social Security is calling me?” Well, the truth is, the SSA will only ever reach out to you over the phone in exceptional circumstances. So if you’ve received a call from someone claiming to work for the SSA, chances are it’s a scam. It is normal to receive a call from them if you have been in prior contact with them, however.
2. You are asked to provide or confirm your Social Security number. You will never be asked to do this by a legitimate employee of the SSA under any circumstances. Click here to learn how to protect your Social Security number.
3. You are threatened with the prospect of arrest, legal action, loss of benefits, or something similar. This is a tactic used by the scammers to get people to comply with their demands. Once again, this is not something an SSA employee will ever do.
4. You are instructed to transfer money or cryptocurrency or buy gift cards. This is how these scams become profitable. The SSA will never ask you to do any of these things.
What to do if you receive a SSN scam call
The first thing you should do is hang up immediately and report the scam call to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Scam calls can be reported to the OIG by clicking here. Don’t be tempted to return the call, either.
You should also add your number to the National Do Not Call Registry. This will help to minimize the number of unwanted calls you receive in the future. You can add your home or mobile number to the registry for free. Click here or call (888) 382-1222 for more information.
How to protect your data from criminals
How exactly do criminals get their hands on stolen personal data such as phone numbers? Two of their main sources are underground online forums and the dark web. How can you know if your personal data is being shared on these platforms? The answer is simple. Use Trend Micro™ ID Security.
Available for Android and iOS, Trend Micro™ ID Security can scan the internet and the dark web 24/7 for your personal information. If your data is leaked, the app notifies you immediately so you can take action. If your information is out there, you’ll be the first to know!
Here are some of the features offered by Trend Micro™ ID Security:
- Personal Data Protection Score — See exactly how safe your online personal data is with your customized Protection Score.
- 24/7 Comprehensive Personal Data Monitoring — ID Security can scan the internet and the dark web for all your personal information including up to 5 email addresses and bank account numbers, 10 credit card numbers, your Social Security number, and lots more.
- Social Media Account Protection — Strengthen the security of your social media accounts. Be instantly alerted if your Facebook or Twitter account’s data is leaked by cybercriminals.
To learn more about Trend Micro™ ID Security and claim your free 30-day trial, click the button below.
When you know what to watch out for, Social Security scams become a lot easier to avoid. If you found the information in this article helpful and you think your friends and family would too, please share this post with them. You could end up saving somebody a lot of money and hassle!
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