Can Social Security Be Suspended?

Social Security ScamsThe Social Security Administration (SSA) shows a rise in phone scams relating to suspended accounts. Callers claim that citizens are having their social security numbers suspended due to criminal activity or taxes being owed to the government. Scammers target senior citizens and convince them to pay fines to correct the problem, while others ask for verification of personal information. The Federal Trade Commission states that the caller pretends to be an agent with the SSA trying to clear up a problem or to protect citizens from scams. The truth is that the call is the scam. People should know that the SSA does not call people, nor does it ever suspend social security numbers for any reason. The SSA doesn’t require people to reapply, either. Anyone requesting information or saying otherwise is a fraud.

If you get a call from someone claiming to be an SSA representative, hang up. You can use a free reverse phone search to verify the number before accepting another call or giving any information. Some scammers spoof the SSA’s main or customer service number — 1-800-772-1213 — to convince the person on the other end of the phone that the scam is real.

SSA Issues Warning

Gale Stallworth Stone, the Acting Inspector General of the Social Security Administration, says, “Unfortunately, scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people, including scaring them into thinking that something is wrong with their Social Security account and they might be arrested. I encourage everyone to remain watchful of these schemes and to alert family members and friends of their prevalence.  We will continue to track these scams and warn citizens so that they can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.”

Protect Yourself

  • Know the way the SSA operates. The SSA rarely, if ever, calls people on the phone. Instead, they communicate only by mail.
  • The SSA will not make threats or demand payment.
  • Refuse to give out bank account or credit card information.
  • Don’t give out your Social Security number.
  • Ignore robocalls.
  • Never give or confirm any personal information.
  • Don’t assume the call, text, or email you receive is legitimate. Offer to call back.
  • Check all suspicious phone numbers using an iPhone reverse cell search app.
  • Do not engage in conversation with the person on the phone.

Staying Safe

  • Block phone numbers you suspect to be fake.
  • Contact government agencies in person, using verified phone numbers, or through their website.
  • Contact government agencies directly, in person or by using telephone numbers and website addresses you know to be legitimate.
  • If someone has tried to steal your private information by claiming to be from the government, report it to the FTC. Also, report any potential scams to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General  online or call 1-800-269-0271.
Pamela M