Financial Advice for Retirement, Social Security, IRAs and Estate Planning

Beat the Latest Scams To Steal Your Identity

Last update on: Mar 17 2020

The world’s thieves constantly are changing their methods, and you have to keep up with them to protect yourself.

Not long ago, the major scam involved IRS imposters demanding immediate payment over the phone using gift cards. That scam largely is shut down. The IRS issued a number of alerts warning about the scam. Also, the main scammers were traced to India, and law enforcement in India arrested many of the perpetrators at call centers.

Con artists have developed new scams, using Social Security as the bait.A caller impersonating a Social Security employee says that the Social Security number of the person being called has been suspended due to fraudulent activity involving the number. The person needs to take immediate action to have the number reinstated.

Sometimes the call is less threatening. The caller says Social Security’s computers are down and the government needs to confirm the person’s Social Security number to keep it from being suspended. An alternative scam uses email to make the same claims. The recipient will be advised to click on a link in the email and follow the instructions on the web page it brings up.

The intent of these scams is to have you provide your Social Security number and other important information to the crooks. The Federal Trade Commission and Social Security Administration both have advised that Social Security wouldn’t call people under either of these circumstances.

If Social Security identifies a problem with your number or account, it will send you a letter. It won’t call you and ask for your number of other important information.

Social Security does send emails reminding people to review their benefits statements to ensure their earnings history is correct. These emails are sent if you established a “my Social Security” account on the Social Security website and provided an email address.

To be on the safe side, though, don’t click on any links in an email purporting to be from Social Security. You

can’t be sure if the email is legitimate or a scam. If you want to check your earnings history or other information, open your internet browser and enter the address of the Social Security web-site (www.socialsecurity.gov). Or call Social Security.

It’s a good idea to open a “my Social Security” account at www.socialsecuri-ty.gov. The account lets you check your earnings history, estimated benefits and other information at any time. It also lets you use SSA’s calculator to receive customized benefit estimates under different scenarios instead of the standard scenarios in the basic benefits estimates.

The account also lets you avoid theft. You can see if anyone applied for benefits in your name or tried to change the financial account into which your benefits are deposited.

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