HOW TO AVOID SOCIAL SECURITY SCAMS
At Sunset Blvd. Investigations we receive many calls throughout the year from victims of Social Security scams.
Per the Federal Trade Commission, American consumers lost $375 million to scammers impersonating government officials in 2021. These scams were perpetrated via email, phone, letters, and text messages. These fraudsters will go as far as to threaten the potential victim with arrest or freezing their bank accounts. Criminals use fear and intimidation to prey on their victims.
We’ve listed some tools to help you recognize Social Security-related scams and stop scammers from stealing your money and personal information.
Recognize the basic signs of a Social Security scam:
- Scammers pretend to be from a familiar organization or agency, like the Social Security Administration. They may email attachments with official-looking logos, seals, signatures, or pictures of employee credentials.
- Scammers mention a problem or a prize. They may say your Social Security number was involved in a crime or ask for personal information to process a benefit increase.
- Scammers will pressure you to act immediately. They may even threaten you with arrest or legal action.
- If you receive a call, text, or email from someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration, it is most likely a scam.
- Scammers will tell you to pay using a gift card, prepaid debit card, cryptocurrency, wire, money transfers, or by mailing cash. They may also instruct you to transfer your money to a safe account. Note: “The Social Security Administration will never tell someone to wire money, buy gift cards or pay with cryptocurrency,” said Gail Ennis, inspector general at the Social Security Administration. “If anyone does ask you that, you know it’s a scam.”
Steps to take if you receive a suspicious text, call or email:
- Hang up the phone and block the incoming number and/or email address. Never respond to the unknown callers questions.
- Never disclose personal information such as your Social Security number, date of birth home address or bank account information. Never make payments with wire transfers, gift cards, crypto currency or by mail cash for any reason.
Ignore scammers and report criminal behavior. Report Social Security-related scams to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Visit www.ssa.gov/scam for more information and follow SSA OIG on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to stay current on the latest scam schemes.
Meet our investigators: http://www.sunsetblvdinv.com/Our-Team.aspx
- The Professional Background Screening Association (PBSA) https://thepbsa.org/
- Southern California Fraud Investigators Association (SCFIA) https://scfia.org/
- World Association of Detectives (WAD) https://www.wad.net/
- California Association of Licensed Investigators (CALI) https://www.cali-pi.org/
- California Narcotics Officers’ Association (CNOA) – https://www.cnoa.org/
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