Avoiding Social Security fraud isn’t hard as long as you’re taking the right steps to protect yourself. While most people who have experienced Social Security fraud haven’t reported losing money, many of them are concerned that fraudsters have gotten their Social Security numbers. This could leave them open to potential identity theft.
Today, we’re going over some of the ways you can protect yourself from fraud. Remember: keep your Social Security number a secret.
Avoiding Social Security Fraud
Don’t Give Anyone Your Number
The Department of Social Security isn’t going to call you and ask for your SS number, so never give it out over the phone. The same goes for email: if the government needs your number for any benefits or filing, they will look it up in their own system. They’re not going to lose it and need to ask you to confirm it for them.
Don’t Trust Caller ID
Fraudsters can use spoofing devices to trick Caller ID into thinking that the call you’re getting is actually from the government. Often, these calls will be a robocall that prompts potential victims “Press 1 to speak with a government representative about reactivating your Social Security number”. Ignore these calls, as they are completely bogus and are just fishing for your number.
The reason it starts as a robocall is that most people will simply ignore. When you press 1, it connects you to a real person who will then ask for your Social Security number, date of birth and other defining details. Once they have this information, they can attempt to steal your identity.
Real Interactions with SSA
If you have actual issues with the SSA that need resolving, it’s entirely unlikely that they will contact you by phone. If they do, SSA agents will not attempt to bribe you or threaten you to get you to give them your information. Typically, any correspondence that requires the phone won’t require you to give the agent a large amount of information about yourself.
When in doubt, err on the side of caution. If you accidentally mistake an SSA call for a fraudster, you’re not going to get in trouble. The government can contact you via the mail or another, secured channel in order to complete your business.
In short, stay vigilant and don’t give out your number through the phone or through emails.