TRIBUNE NEWS SERVICE
In the digital age, frauds and scams are an unfortunate part of doing business online. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown individuals over the phone or internet.
If you receive a call and aren’t expecting one, you must be extra careful.
You can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and — if you do need more clarification — contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger.
There’s a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. Calls can even display the 1-800-772-1213, Social Security’s national customer service number.
In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your Social Security number (SSN), on file.
Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information.
This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.
Number at risk
Callers sometimes state that your Social Security number is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to provide a phone number to resolve the issue.
People should be aware the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.
Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, a Social Security employee may request the person confirm personal information over the phone.
Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.
If you receive these calls, report them to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.
Nicole Tiggemann is a Social Security spokesperson.