It’s a quiet, peaceful night.
Maybe you’re lounging on your couch, reading up on the latest weekend news. Or maybe you’re preparing for dinner. Whatever you’re doing gets interrupted when your phone suddenly rings. With a sigh, you pick it up. Hello? Apparently, it’s someone from the Social Security Administration. Your account has been put on hold due to some discrepancies in their database and they want to get some of your personal information. You need to give them the details or else your benefits will be discontinued. What will you do?
According to the real Social Security Administration, (SSA) the best thing to do in this situation is to hang up and put the phone down. You know why? A real SSA employee would never ask for sensitive personal information over the phone, unless it was you who called them first. And if someone claiming to be from the SSA called from the SSA official number and asked for your information? Hang up– it’s still a scam.
“Phone spoofing<" is the act of using a legitimate-looking phone number to scam people over the phone. It's like website phishing, except this is done over the phone. When done well, it can be hard to tell from the real thing, which is why you should always be wary. Remember, if you're in doubt, it's always much better to err on the side of caution. Don't worry about hanging up on a potentially legitimate employee. You can always call back the real number and ask for verification.
Here are some additional tips:
- Never give out personal information over the phone.
- A real SSA employee (or any other government agency) will never threaten you over the phone.
- A real SSA employee will never give you benefits in exchange for personal information.
- A real SSA employee will never tell you to pay via a specific method i.e. wiring money, check, etc.
- A real SSA employee will never demand you to do something on the spot.
With all the phone scams popping up lately, we must always be careful and wary of all strangers–especially the ones we can’t see.