In recent months there has been a rash of scam calls made to unsuspecting people all across the nation. In these calls, the callers are saying they are from the Social Security Administration and using threatening or frightening language to try to get personal information from their victims. We even got such a call on our office phone line. The one we received was a recorded message that said, “This call is from the department of Social Security Administration. The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we just suspended your Social Security number because we found some suspicious activity. So if you want to know about this case, just press 1. Thank you.”
The victims of these calls, fearing they are going to get in trouble with a federal agency, may be tempted to provide the information the caller asks for. If you get such a call, don’t provide any personal information! You should hang up and then call and report the details of the call to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271. Or you can report the call online at OIG.SSA.gov/report.
If you have an attorney representing you in your Social Security disability claim, then the Social Security Administration, the office of Disability Determination Services, and the Office of Hearings Operations, should all communicate with your attorney about your claim instead of calling you directly. There are a couple of exceptions, but if they call you directly, they will already have your social security number and other personal information, so will not ask you to give it to them over the phone. If you are ever in doubt whether a call you are receiving is legitimately from the Social Security Administration, you can always hang up and call your local Social Security office and confirm with them whether someone from their office is trying to reach you.
It’s unfortunate that there are people out there perpetuating these types of scams on innocent victims. The best one can do it is to be careful when it comes to their personal information. It’s better to be overly cautious than to have to deal with the headache of identity theft.