March 07, 2022
Social Security Administration Fights Fraud with National “Slam the Scam Day”
Chances are someone you know has received an ominous call or message from someone pretending to be from the government, alleging that your information has been compromised or demanding immediate payment. Ignore it. This is just one of the tips that the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA OIG) is sharing to warn consumers about scams through a National “Slam the Scam Day” taking place on Thursday, March 10.
The initiative, which began in 2020 to combat Social Security-related scams, is now expanding to include other government imposter scams. The scams often involve someone claiming to be an SSA or other government employee who asks for personal information, demands payment, or makes threats. These scams are primarily carried out over the telephone, but perpetrators may also use email, text messages, social media, or U.S. mail.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), from January through September 2021, consumers lost more than $331 million to government imposter scams.
SSA OIG urges everyone to be cautious of any contact supposedly from a government agency telling you about a problem you don’t recognize and provides the following tips: Real government officials will NEVER:
- threaten arrest or legal action against you unless you immediately send money;
- promise to increase your benefits or resolve a problem if you pay a fee or move your money into a protected account;
- require payment with gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfer, Internet currency, or by mailing cash; or
- try to gain your trust by providing fake “documentation,” false “evidence,” or the name of a real government official.
“The best ways to avoid falling prey to these types of scams are to hang up the phone or delete suspicious texts and emails without responding,” said Joseph Peters, Jr., Secretary-Treasurer of the Alliance.
Report Social Security-related scams and fraud online at https://oig.ssa.gov. Other government imposter scams may be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at https://www.ftc.gov/scams.