Government Neighbors

Consumer Corner: Protect Your Social Security Number

Provided by the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection:

Your Social Security number is an important key for an identity thief.

We, the Bucks County Department of Consumer Protection and the Crimes Against Older Adults Task Force want you to be aware of the most recent attempt scammers are making at trying to steal your identity.

We have received many reports of calls from “Social Security”, as it shows on the caller ID (thanks to spoofing), to residents informing them that their “social security number has been compromised”.

These calls are, oftentimes, threatening in nature. If you should happen to miss their call, they will leave a call back number for you that may actually be a legitimate number of the Social Security Administration.

DO NOT FALL FOR THIS. The Social Security Administration will never call you to inquire of you sensitive information. If they need to contact you it will always be in written form via U.S. mail. This holds true for all government agencies.

Other people have stated that they have come across spoof websites that are set up to look like the place where you would apply for a new Social Security card – but these websites are also a setup to steal your personal information. How can you protect yourself?

The Federal Trade Commission recommends the following when dealing with a government imposter:

  • Don’t give the caller your information. Never give out or confirm sensitive information – like your bank account, credit card, or Social Security number – unless you know who you’re dealing with. If someone has contacted you, you can’t be sure who they are.
  • Don’t trust a name or number. Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them. To make their call seem legitimate, scammers use internet technology to spoof their area code – so although it may seem they are calling from Washington, DC, they could be calling from anywhere in the world.
  • Check with the Social Security Administration. The SSA has a warning about these scams and suggests you contact them directly at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.

About the author