The Social Security Administration is warning all Social Security recipients to keep on the look-out for fraudulent callers impersonating Social Security Administration employees.
Acting Inspector General of Social Security, Gale Stallworth Stone, issued an official fraud advisory yesterday warning anyone who receives a phone call from an SSA “employee” asking for personal information to hang up the phone and report the call to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Reports are surfacing from across the country that a caller, posing as an agent or employee of the SSA, is attempting collect as much personally identifiable information from beneficiaries as possible.
Once the information is obtained, the caller is able to contact the SSA and edit the phone number, address, and direct deposit account of that beneficiary.
To obtain this information, the caller tells the victim that he is due money from his 1.7% cost-of-living adjustment (COLA). In order to ensure the victim receives this money, the caller asks him to confirm a list of personal information, including name, Social Security number, birth date, and the names of immediate family members.
Reports also mention this caller typically calls from the 323 area code.
While the SSA may contact beneficiaries by phone from time to time, very rarely will any employee request personal information over the phone. The fraud advisory notes that in the unusual case an SSA employee does ask someone to confirm personal details by phone, that person will most likely be expecting the call already.
As a general rule, do NOT give ANYONE your Social Security number or bank information unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE who you are giving it to.
Always be suspicious of anyone attempting to get this kind of information from you over the phone–in most cases, legitimate businesses and institutions that do need this information from you will never ask you over the phone.
The SSA is informing citizens who receive suspicious calls from anyone claiming affiliation with the Administration to contact their local Social Security office or call the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 and make a report.