The Scammers Are at It Again...This Time Pretending to Be the Social Security

David L. Johanson |

We know that identity theft is a real issue.  Scammers deliberate use of someone else’s identity for financial gain is unfathomable to most, but a reality for many.

In 2015, my family members and I were targeted as part of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) data breach which resulted in some of our personal information being stolen.  These experiences are very frustrating but seem to be becoming more and more common (think of Target back in 2013, Equifax in 2017, etc.).

These types of identity thefts are difficult to prevent.  After all, the government requires us to submit tax returns, if you have a credit card or a home loan, Equifax (as one of the credit reporting agencies) has your information, etc.  It is no longer a situation on minimizing your footprint on the internet (although I believe this still can help).

However, all too often, individuals allow themselves to get caught up in fraud and identity theft scams when they respond to an alarming or threatening phone call from someone pretending to be affiliated with the government.  One of the most common phone scams was from someone reportedly from the IRS and informing you that you owe taxes and that if you don’t pay, the police will come to your home and arrest you.

Unfortunately, too many people believed the person on the phone which resulted in individuals making fraudulent payments of millions of dollars.  Relatively recently a new scam appeared – this time from someone identifying themselves as working for the Social Security Administration.  This actually happened to me today – two times.  The person stated that my Social Security Number was suspended due to “suspicious” activity and prompted me to respond.

I did not – I hung up the phone and recommend you do the same.  With the current round of fraudulent scammers, they are looking for personal information, including Social Security numbers.  The Inspector General of Social Security recently issued a news release informing the public that “…the Social Security Advisory Board typically does not contact the general public to request personal information over the phone.  Moreover, government employees will never threaten you to obtain personal information or payments.  In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.”

In this day and age there are too many people trying to steal our identity.  If you feel you are the subject of an attempted scam phone call, please do as Inspector General of Social Security recommends…just hang up the phone.