If you get a call or email claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you should be cautious. While it is true that SSA employees are conducting business by phone during the pandemic, there are also scammers out there who want your personal and financial information.
Some of these scammers will say that you owe the government money and must pay up or your Social Security number will be suspended. Or, they may say your benefits will be stopped. They may even claim you could be subject to arrest if you don’t pay.
These scams work by getting you scared enough that you comply without question. The scammers are looking for a way to get your money. They will demand payment in cash, by wire transfer, using internet currency, or via a gift card or prepaid debit card. Or, they may ask for your financial information, such as bank account numbers and passwords.
Don’t fall for scams. Here are some things the SSA will never do
The SSA is a government bureaucracy, and there are standard ways it does business. If there is a problem with your benefits, the agency will generally contact you by mail. Due to the pandemic, there are occasions when the SSA will contact you by phone, but this would generally be regarding an issue you’re already aware of.
Here are some things the SSA will never do, which could be signs of a scam:
- Your Social Security number cannot be suspended.
- Even if there were a problem and you did owe money to the government, the SSA would never contact you by email and demand payment.
- The SSA will also never include personally identifiable information or official letters or reports in an email.
- The SSA will never threaten you with consequences unless you agree to immediately pay a fine or fee.
- The SSA will never promise an increase in your benefits in exchange for a payment, even if you actually owed the money.
- The SSA does not accept payments in unusual forms such as gift cards, prepaid debit cards, cash, or internet currency. If you were to owe money to the SSA for some reason, you would receive a written bill with information about how to contest the amount owed.
- The SSA does not use pressure tactics to get people to pay money they may owe the agency.
Assume any suspicious-looking email or surprising phone call is a scam. You can ignore it or submit a report to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General.
If you are unsure about a call or email, contact your Social Security lawyer at Miller Cohen, P.L.C. for help.