Scammers are using a Social Security Administration phone number in an attempt to steal important personal information from you, regulators warn.
The Federal Trade Commission, which regulates the telecommunications industry, says the incoming calls show SSA’s customer service number, 800-772-1213, on caller ID, though they in fact can come from anywhere. This use of a legitimate phone number to fool consumers is known as “spoofing.”
The caller identifies himself as a Social Security employee and says your file lacks necessary personal information, such as your Social Security number. Or the caller may claim to need additional information in order to increase your benefit payment, or will threaten to terminate your benefits if you don’t confirm the information he or she has.
“This caller-ID spoofing scheme exploits SSA’s trusted reputation, and it shows that scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people,” Gale Stallworth Stone, the acting inspector general of Social Security, wrote in a statement.
“I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence,” she added. “We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens, so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”
Consumer Reports, the nonprofit membership organization, suggests that if you get such a call, hang up and call SSA directly. Dial 800-772-1213 the phone number for the Social Security Administration. In addition, remember: The Social Security Administration will not threaten you.
Real SSA employees will never threaten you to get personal information. They also won’t promise to increase your benefits in exchange for information. If they do, it’s a scam.
Robocalls are the No. 1 consumer complaint to the Federal Trade Commission. According to the FTC, the agency received 4.5 million robocall complaints in 2017, up from 3.4 million the previous year.