Most people feel distressed when they get a phone call or letter from a government agency like the Social Security Administration (Social Security). But sometimes, people are not who they say they are. In fact, identify thieves and other criminal actors will lie to get personally identifiable information from unsuspecting, trusting victims. If you get Supplemental Security Income (SSI), watch for the current SSI scams.
How can you know if someone is calling from Social Security?
By what they do not ask you. According to Social Security, their staff will never:
- “Threaten you.
- Suspend your Social Security number.
- Demand an immediate payment from you.
- Threaten to arrest you or take other legal action against you.
- Requirement payment by cash, gift card, pre-paid debit card, or wire transfer.
- Ask for gift card numbers over the phone or to wire or mail cash.”
Be wary of anyone who asks for personal information or claims there’s a problem with your Social Security account.
Often, someone engaged in an SSI scam will claim there is a problem with your account.
What can I do if I get a suspicious call, text, or email?
If you feel you are about to be the victim of any SSI scams, do the following:
- Hang up if someone suspicious has called you.
- Don’t click on links that you receive from someone you don’t know.
- Do not return any communications that you receive from someone you don’t know.
- Ask a trusted friend or family member for advice.
- Call your local Social Security office and ask about the communication you received.
Contact the Office of the Inspector General if you receive suspicious communications or have become the victim of any SSI scams.
How can I get safe communications from Social Security?
Make sure you have a current mySocialSecurity account. You can let Social Security how and when it’s okay to communicate with you. For example, you might ask them to email instead of text. When you receive emails from someone who claims to be from Social Security, check the email address. It should end with “.gov” to show that the email is coming from a government account.
Don’t Ignore Potential SSI Scams.
If someone took advantage of you, don’t be embarrassed to report it. Your information could help Social Security stop SSI scams before they hurt someone else.
And if you need to apply for SSI benefits, contact an experienced attorney for assistance. The application process can be long and frustrating, so you need someone on your side. The attorneys at The Law Offices of Martin Taller have more than 50 years’ experience. For a free consultation, call us at 714-385-8100. Though our office is located in Anaheim, we assist clients throughout Southern California.