Clark Howard's Consumer Action Center has been swamped with calls from people saying someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration is trying to get their personal information.
Sometimes the fake SSA employee says they need personal info, including your Social Security number, to round out your file.
Another variation on this theme is you’re told that the SSA wants to increase your benefit payment but need additional info to do so. A third variant involves a threat of stopping your Social Security benefits if you don’t hand over your info.
John Mitchell from Kennesaw says he got a call saying his social security account had been suspended. "He told me that a car that had been rented in my name had been found full of drugs near the border of Mexico," says Mitchell. He says the caller went on to say that it was rented using his social security number so his account had to be suspended. They then asked for him to give out his number, so they could verify it. He refused and called the Consumer Action Center.
Here’s the bottom-line: You should never give your Social Security number, bank account info or other sensitive financial data to anyone making an unsolicited call to your home.
If you get a phone call from someone claiming to be from the SSA and you aren’t sure if it’s a scam or not, hang up the phone immediately.
Then call the agency back at what you know to be a legitimate number — 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778) — to find out what they wanted.
You can also call our Consumer Action Center at 404-892-8227 for free off-air advice about how to handle these calls. We’ve seen an uptick in the number of questions about this particular scam and our volunteers and standing by and ready to help you spot the rip-off!
Finally, you should also go one step further and report any suspicious calls to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.