By Tim Cooper, Social Security District Manager in Mt. Vernon, IL
Fraudsters will never take a break. While you are out enjoying fun and sun this summer, they are working hard to find new ways to scam you. Seniors and younger people are particularly vulnerable to scammers who claim to represent Social Security. To protect you and your loved ones, you can:
• Visit our Protect Yourself from Social Security Scams webpage at www.ssa.gov/scam for information on what tactics scammers use and how to report them.
• Check out the Federal Trade Commission’s page at consumer.ftc.gov/scams for additional scam-related information.
Here are some tips to follow when you identify a potential scammer:
• Hang up right away or ignore the message.
• Never give personal information or money.
• Report the scam immediately to our Office of the Inspector General at https://oig.ssa.gov/report/.
If you owe money to Social Security, we’ll mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights. We only accept payments electronically through Pay.gov or Online Bill Pay, or physically by check or money order through our offices.
We will never do the following:
• Threaten you with arrest or legal action because you don’t agree to pay us money immediately.
• Promise a benefit increase in exchange for money.
• Ask you to send us gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, internet currency, cryptocurrency, or cash through the U.S. mail.
There are no vacations for fraudsters, so you need to stay informed of the latest Social Security-related scams. For more information, please visit our blog at www.blog.ssa.gov. Please share these useful resources with your loved ones.