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NDT - AARP Warns of Social Security Scams - Sept 14

Published: Sep. 14, 2021 at 12:16 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - Social security numbers are the skeleton key to identity theft. Social security scams are a common form of government imposter scam, where crooks post as government officials to get you to send money or give up personal and financial information.

According to Doreen Riedman with AARP North Dakota, one common tactic involves fake Social Security Administration employees calling people with warnings that their Social Security numbers have been linked to criminal activity and suspended. The scammer asks you to confirm your number so they can reactivate it or issue you a new one, for a fee. This is a ploy to get both your Social Security number and your money.

• Most of us have probably received robocalls about our Social Security account. The robocall recording provides a number for you to call to remedy the problem. In another version, the caller says your bank account is at risk due to the illicit activity and offers to help you keep it safe.

• Sometimes scammers call with good news! You might get a call from a supposed Social Security representative telling you that you are receiving a cost-of-living increase in your benefits. To get the extra money, you just have to verify your name, date of birth and Social Security number. Armed with those identifiers, scammers can effectively hijack your account, ask Social Security to change the address, phone number and direct deposit information on your record and thus divert your benefits.

• Scams also come in the form of emails. Fraudsters send out emails that appear to be from Social Security and instruct you to click a link to register for a free service that protects you from Social Security fraud. This is a phishing scam designed to guide you to a fake government website that will steal your personal information.

WARNING SIGNS

• You get an unsolicited call from someone claiming to work for Social Security. Except in rare circumstances, you will not get a call from Social Security unless you have already been in contact with the agency.

• A caller asks for your Social Security number. That’s something an actual Social Security employee wouldn’t do.

• You are threatened with arrest, loss of benefits or suspension of your Social Security number, if you do not provide a payment or personal information.

• You receive a call saying your Social Security number has been linked to criminal activity and suspended.

• Any type of robocall that asks you to call a number back.

• Emails that appear to be from Social Security or another government agency.

TIPS

• Always protect your Social Security number.

• NEVER give your Social Security number to someone who calls you out of the blue.

• Remember, Social Security does not block or suspend numbers, ever.

• Never give a caller financial information or other personal information.

• Don’t call a phone number left on your voice mail by a robocaller.

• Don’t click links in emails that may look legitimate. Delete them.

• Just hang up the phone when you get these types of phone calls.

If you think you or someone you know has been scammed, call the AARP Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 877-908-3360 or learn more at www.aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork.

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