Be wary of calls supposedly from Social Security

Another day, another online or telephone scam to warn the public about, aimed at gaining money or personal information under false pretenses.

The Social Security Administration and its Office of the Inspector General recently launched a joint media campaign about a scheme that impersonates that governmental agency.

Social Security and the OIG continue to receive reports from across the country about phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. These calls can even “spoof” Social Security’s national customer service number so it shows up on caller ID.

While Social Security employees do occasionally contact people by telephone — generally, those who have ongoing business with the agency — they will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information.

“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet,” said Nancy Berryhill, acting Social Security commissioner. “If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful — you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.”

Such calls can be reported to the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

“Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the OIG, just hang up,” said Gail Ennis, inspector general for the Social Security Administration.

A new public service announcement on these telephone impersonation schemes can be viewed online at www.youtube.com/socialsecurity.

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