Charo Boyd column: Protect yourself from social security fraud | Columns
Charo Boyd column: Protect yourself from social security fraud |  Columns

Charo Boyd column: Protect yourself from social security fraud | Columns

Scammers are always finding new ways to steal your money and personal information by exploiting your fears. The most effective way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and emails.

A common tactic used by scammers is to pretend to be federal agents or other law enforcement agencies. They may claim that your CPR number is linked to a crime. They may even threaten to arrest you if you do not follow their instructions. Here are three things you should do:

  1. Hang up right away or do not reply to email.
  2. Never provide personal information or payment of any kind.
  3. Report the scam at oig.ssa.gov to immediately notify the law enforcement team in our office of the Inspector General.

You should continue to be aware of phone calls when someone says there is a problem with your CPR number or your benefits. If you owe us money, we will send you a letter explaining your rights, payment options and information to complain.

There are a few ways you can identify a scam call or email. Remember we will never:

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest or other legal action unless you pay a fine or a fee.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance against payment.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, cash, bank transfer, internet currency or prepaid debit card.
  • Demand confidentiality when dealing with a social security related issue.
  • Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.

If you do not have ongoing business with our agency, it is unlikely that we will contact you.

Again, if you receive a suspicious call claiming to be from us or law enforcement on social security, you should hang up and report it immediately to our office of the Inspector General at. oig.ssa.gov.

Charo Boyd is the Social Security public affairs specialist for Indianapolis Metropolitan and Southern Indiana. Her column appears every other Monday.


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