Any rise in scams is cause for alarm. But lately, many people are especially concerned about a recent uptick in Social Security Number scams.
Your Social Security Number is one of the most important things to keep private.You have it throughout your life and use it to verify your identity in the most sensitive situations. Scammers are always trying to get your precious information. But with better technology and more nuance, they seem to be getting better at it.
Don’t fear, however. You can still thwart these scammers. To avoid Social Security Number (SSN) scams:
-Don’t give your number to someone you didn’t call
-Not even if they threaten you
-Know you’ll likely only ever have one SSN
-Don’t engage with a phone scammer to begin with
Never Give Your Social Security Number to Someone You Didn’t Call
Scammers almost always call you, not the other way around. In an SSN scam, the caller may provide several reasons for the call. Often, the scammer actually claims to be from the Social Security Administration. With a fake ID number and smart-sounding speech, that scammer may trick you into providing your SSN as “verification.”
How do you avoid this clever scam? Easy: don’t ever give someone your SSN unless you are calling a trusted phone number. If it’s a genuine call from the Social Security Administration or another government agency, it’s still okay for you to just hang up and call the official number. It’s the safest possible way to do things.
Don’t Provide Your Social Security Number in Response to a Threat
Fear is a big motivator that scammers take advantage of. After all, if you’re scared that the Social Security Administration might remove your disability or elderly benefits, it makes sense that you wouldn’t think about whether the caller’s request makes any sense. This is a very common tactic you can easily bypass.
The government has to provide you with plenty of advance notice if it’s going to cut off your benefits or if you have a fine that you need to pay. It also provides a list of acceptable payment options on official government websites. If someone asks for a payment that’s not from one of those options (often gift cards and cryptocurrency), you know it’s a scam. Additionally, the government will never leave you a threatening voicemail.
Remember That You’ll Probably Only Ever Have One Social Security Number
A common method that more and more scammers use is insisting that your Social Security Number has been compromised, and you need to pay a fine to get a new one. By playing on your fears of falling victim to a security breach, these scammers may actually be able to make you fall for another one.
This claim is completely bogus. Most normal people only ever receive one Social Security Number in their lifetimes. The Social Security Administration issues new SSNs occasionally, but only in extreme circumstances where an individual can prove harassment, danger, or harmful identity theft. It’s a lengthy process you definitely wouldn’t complete over the phone.
Stop the Call Before You Interact in Any Way
This is a tip that goes for all phone scammers. But it’s especially important when you’re dealing with potential identity theft that’s this significant. If you do get a scam call, you should hang up as quickly as possible–don’t interact with the scammer at all. Ideally, you shouldn’t even pick up the phone at all. You should just send it to voicemail.
But how do you know it’s a scam call? The easiest way to find out if you’re dealing with a scam call before you even pick up the phone is to use a site like PeopleFinders.
When you use PeopleFinders, you can attempt to make sure your phone calls are valid before you even pick up. All you have to do is perform a reverse phone lookup using the phone number on your caller ID. You can do it from any device. It’s also a great way to try and check people’s identities, and to make sure a number you have is a genuine phone number before you call it.
It can be scary to hear about Social Security Number scams. Your SSN is an important piece of information you definitely need to safeguard. If you’re looking for tools that can help you do just that, try PeopleFinders.
Not only can you use the reverse phone lookup to identify spam calls, but you can use the site’s other informational search tools to try and enhance your daily safety. Read the PeopleFinders blog to learn even more about how to use these powerful tools.
Image attribution: JohnKwan – stock.adobe.com