The Social Security Administration recently released a new fraud advisory. The advisory is in regard to a newly emerging scam where identity thieves are attempting to steal Social Security benefits. The Inspector of Social Security Administration is warning the public and, in particular Social Security benefit recipients of a scam that involves identity thieves obtaining private information of beneficiaries and then utilizing that information to open a ‘My Social Security’ account on the Social Security website. If the scam is successful the thieves can then use the account to redirect Social Security deposits into a different bank account controlled by them. The Inspector General went on to say that this should in no way discourage people from using the Social Security Administrator ‘my security’ feature on their website. The truth is that by establishing your account you eliminate the risk of a new account being opened in your name by an identity thief. This feature enables the public to view their earning history and estimated benefits and allows beneficiaries to obtain a host of services online. To help prevent this type of fraud the Inspector General recommends that you do the following:
· Never provide personal information when receiving unsolicited calls or contacts
· Never agree to accept pre-paid debit cards or credit cards in another person’s name
· Never agree to send or wire money to an unknown person
· Always contact your local SSA office if you receive a call from a person claming to be from SSA, and that person asks you to provide your social security number or other personal information.
If you think you may have already been a victim of this new scam you are strongly encouraged to call the Social Security Administrations free customer service line at 1-800-772-1213 or visit your local Social Security office.