I’m hearing more about telephone scams where the scammer is pretending to be a government employee. Scammers will try to scare and trick people into giving them their personal information and money. The scammers may threaten victims or their families and may demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action.
What should I do if I think a scammer is trying to contact me?
I suggest that my clients not answer calls from any numbers they don’t recognize. Wait for the caller to leave a message. Many times you can delete the message because it’s an obvious sales pitch.
If they claim to be from Social Security, make a note of the matter they address, then call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213 to check it out. Do not return the call to any number left on your voice mail. By dialing directly into Social Security, you can be confident you are truly speaking with the U.S. Social Security Administration. You can ask them about the status of your account and any matter mentioned in the voice mail message.
What if I answer the call and it’s a Social Security scam?
1. Hang up.
2. Do not give them money or personal information.
3. Report the scam at OIG.SSA.GOV.
Social Security may call you in some situations but will never:
- Threaten you
- Suspend your Social Security number
- Demand immediate payment from you
- Require 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
How can I tell that it’s not Social Security calling me?
- The call or email says there is a problem with your Social Security Number or account. Do not reply to any message. Call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213. This way you are sure you have reached the legitimate Social Security Administration.
- Someone is asking you to pay a fine or debt with retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash. None of these are routine and legitimate payment methods. Call Social Security to verify.
- Scammers pretend they’re from Social Security or another government agency. Caller ID or documents sent by email may look official, but they are not. Always call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213 to verify any matters that come to you via phone message or e-mail.
- Callers threaten you with arrest or other legal action. The Social Security Administration does not operate this way. Always call Social Security directly at 800-772-1213 to verify.
If you receive a questionable call, hang up and report it at oig.ssa.gov
Don’t be embarrassed to report if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss. The quicker you seek help, the faster you can resolve the matter.
Learn more at oig.ssa.gov/scam
Many of my clients depend on Social Security income as an important part of their retirement income plan. As an advisor who is always an advocate for my clients, a fiduciary advisor, I work hard to help my clients maximize the Social Security benefits to which they are entitled. Do not let a scammer cheat you out of benefits you have earned.
Rich is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional. He has extensive experience, training and expertise to advise families on all aspects of their financial life. He is a fiduciary advisor, who is his client’s advocate at all times. He provides advice for a fee, not as part of a product sales process. And yes, Rich is still taking on a few great families to be part of his financial planning practice.
If this article has you thinking about your own circumstances, contact my office at email@example.com. I am always happy to meet with people who are working on their retirement plans. Dunncreek Advisors does not provide legal or tax advice, nor is this article intended to do so.
NEW LEGAL DISCLAIMER LANGUAGE:
Securities and advisory services offered through Royal Alliance Associates, Inc. (RAA),
RAA is separately owned and Dunncreek Advisors LLC,
904 Delaware Avenue, Saint Paul MN 55118, is independent of RAA.