WASHINGTON, D.C.(WKBN) – Phone and internet scams targeting the Social Security Administration are getting so abundant that federal officials have designated March 5 as “Slam the Scam Day.”
The effort is to raise public awareness on the many ways that scammers are targeting the public. Many include callers pretending to be government employees to mislead victims into providing personal information or making payments.
Social Security-related scams have skyrocketed over the past year to become the #1 type of consumer fraud reported to the Federal Trade Commission and the Social Security Administration, according to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG).
Officials from OIG said the scams have become “a scourge on the American public.”
The Federal Trade Commission recently reported that victims lost nearly $153 million to government imposter scams in 2019.
Representatives from the Social Security Administration will never: (Source OIG)
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended, or offer to increase your benefits or resolve an identity theft issue for a fee
- Call to threaten you with arrest or legal action if you do not immediately pay a debt, fine or fee
- Request immediate payment via gift cards, cash, wire transfers or internet currency like Bitcoin
- Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem, or tell you to make up a story to tell your friends, family or store/bank employees
“Awareness is our best hope to thwart the scammers,” said Inspector General Gail S. Ennis. “Tell your friends and family about these scams and report them to us when you receive them, but most importantly, just hang up and ignore the calls.”
You can report Social Security scams online at oig.ssa.gov. IRS imposter scams can be reported to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration, and other government imposter scams to the Federal Trade Commission.