What are the most common scams regarding Social Security benefits?

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A:

There are a number of common scams that target Social Security benefits. These scams generally involve criminals who impersonate Social Security workers or companies, so that they can obtain Social Security numbers and other personal information.

Receiving an Extra Social Security Check

One popular scam is a direct mail scam that primarily targets senior citizens. A letter comes in the mail offering an extra security check, along with a form asking for personal information and a filing fee. The letter ask the recipient for his or her Social Security number, money and bank account information to help with the application. The Social Security Administration never asks for a full Social Security number because it already knows the number.

Fraudulent Phone Calls

There are many common scams that use phone solicitation. They range from offering new Social Security cards to offering additional funds and rebates. The caller asks for an individual's Social Security number and bank information in order to process requests. People who receive phone calls of any kind asking for Social Security numbers should be wary of these scams and hang up immediately.

Fake Email Headers

Scammers often design emails to look as if they have been sent from the Social Security Administration. They may even direct readers to a website designed to look like an official government website. The Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General have publicly stated that any email from the Social Security Administration asking for personal information is a scam.

Report any suspicious activity by calling the OIG hotline at 800-269-0271, or fill out a public fraud reporting form at the Social Security website's fraud page.


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