Q. I hear there is a new scam going around whereby seniors receive phone calls that appear to be from Social Security. Do you know anything about this?

A. Yes. There is a spoofing scam going around the entire country whereby seniors receive calls which appear to be coming from the Social Security Administration, but which in reality are scams. The recipient’s caller ID shows that the call is coming from 1-800-772-1213, which indeed is the phone number for the Social Security Administration, but the call itself is phony. Here is how you can tell:

The caller claims that he or she needs your Social Security number and other personal information in order to process an increase in your Social Security benefits, and may also go so far as to threaten that your benefits will be terminated if you do not provide that information. These are fraudulent calls! If you get one, hang up immediately, and in any event do not give out your Social Security number or other personal information.

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) recently released a consumer advisory about this scam, urging recipients to hang up if they receive one. The FTC advises that the Social Security Administration (“SSA”) will never threaten, will never seek to get personal information over the telephone and will never promise to increase your benefits in exchange for that information. If the caller makes that claim, you can bet it’s a scam call.

If you have any doubt hang up and call SSA directly and inquire. Further, if you get a spoofed call of this nature report it to the SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271. Be alert and be safe.

References: FTC advisory issued October 29, 2018.