Not only for holiday cheer, good will and shopping, but definitely for Scammers too. This Scam Alert came from the Social Security Administration in my email this week. I felt it was worth sharing to prevent anyone being bamboozled by these completely worthless individuals (and that's exactly how I really feel, my friends).
(For those unfamiliar with the SSA, it's an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability and survivor benefits.)
Since these (or similar) scams could inadvertently affect unsuspecting folks, information in this post was re-created as closely as possible with text formatting from the original email. (This advice can be applied to calls from other institutions like credit cards or banks. When dubious, never share any personal information, instead check with the institution yourself. )
The Social Security Administration will never threaten, scare, or pressure you to take an immediate action.
If you receive a call, text, or email that...
- Threatens to suspend your Social Security number, even if they have part or all of your Social Security number
- Warns of arrest of legal action
- Demands or requests immediate payment
- Requires payment by gift card, prepaid debit card, internet currency, or by mailing cash
- Pressures you for personal information
- Requests secrecy
- Threatens to seize your bank account
- Promises to increase your Social Security benefit
- Tries to gain your trust by providing fake "documentation," false "evidence," or the name of a real government official
. . . it is a SCAM!
- Try to stay calm. Do not provide anyone with money or personal information when you feel pressured, threatened, or scared.
- Hang up or ignore it. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email, hang up or do not respond. Government employees will not threaten you, demand immediate payment, or try to gain your trust by sending you pictures or documents.
- Report Social Security-related scams. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email that mentions Social Security, ignore it and report it to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
- Do not be embarrassed if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.
- Get up-to-date information. Follow SSA OIG on Twitter @TheSSAOIG and Facebook @SSA Office of the Inspector General for the latest information on Social Security-related scams. Visit the Federal Trade Commission for information on other government scams.
- Spread the word. Share your knowledge of Social Security-related scams. Post on social media using the hashtag #SlamtheScam to share your experience and warn others. Visit oig.ssa.gov/scam for more information.
- Please also share with your friends and family — Report a Scam.