Today I want to talk about how to avoid Social Security scams. Safe Harbor is not affiliated with or endorsed by the Social Security Administration or any government agency, but it’s an important and timely topic that everyone should be aware of today. Unfortunately, Americans lost almost $153 million to scammers impersonating government agencies in 2019, and more than $37 million to Social Security-specific scams. If you receive an unsolicited call from someone who says they are with the Social Security Administration, chances are they are not.
Scammers pretend to be government employees. They may threaten you and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action, but do not be fooled. The Social Security Administration may contact you in some situations, but they will never:
- Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee.
- Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
- Require payment via retail gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, or by mailing cash.
- Demand secrecy in handling a Social Security-related problem, or tell you to make up a story to tell your friends and family
- And the Social Security Administration may email or text you about programs and services but will never ask for a return call to an unknown number or request payment from you.
If you do receive a questionable call, hang up. Do not return unknown calls, emails, or texts. Never give money or share personal information and do not be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss to a scammer, it may help others from being taken advantage of in the future.
Hopefully you will never be targeted for one of these scams, but it’s very important to always be cautions and aware so you can protect yourself.