Scammers attempting to steal your Social Security number are always devising new tricks to get you to reveal your confidential information. Every year, tens of thousands of these scams are successful. Consumers lost more than $10 million to the Social Security number suspension scam in 2018 alone.
How the Social Security Number Suspension Scam Works
The main method of the Social Security number suspension scam involves a call. An impersonator pretends to be from the Social Security Administration. They ask you to verify your Social Security number and other personal details, such as your date of birth and full name.
Another variation of this scam uses a robocall. The robot leaves a message or asks you to push a button. The caller ID on your phone may show that the call originates from the Social Security Administration. This is typically spoofed by the scammers.
What the Scammer Says
Each variation of the Social Security number suspension scam is a little different. Some scammers try to scare you and say that the government is filing a lawsuit against you. Others say that your benefits will be suspended unless you pay a fee to release the suspension. Some try a different tactic and claim that your number was suspended due to suspicious activity, and you need to share personal information to verify your identity. The thief will likely try to get you to make some type of payment in order to reactivate your Social Security number. They might ask for gift cards, wire transfers or even cryptocurrency.
How to Spot a Social Security Number Suspension Scam
Exactly 100% of the time, if you get a call that your Social Security number has been suspended, this is false. The Social Security Administration never does this. The thief is trying to steal your information and take your money. Social Security Administration officials never make threats or request payments. They only contact you by phone if you reach out to them first. You may also receive a text or an email that your Social Security number has been suspended. The link in the text will likely take you to a phishing site. Clicking on this link could infect your device with malware that steals your banking and other personal information.
How to Protect Yourself from Social Security Number Suspension Scams
If you get a call from somebody claiming to work for the Social Security Administration or a robocall requesting your Social Security details, hang up. Look up the Social Security Administration’s real number. Call the real number, and ask if they recently contacted you. Use the block number feature on your phone to block the scammer’s number. Never share your Social Security number over the phone. No matter how official it sounds, chances are nearly 100% that the caller is a con artist. Establish a My Social Security account with the Social Security Administration, and review it monthly to check for suspicious activity.