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Don't Become a Victim - Avoid Being Scammed, Protect Your Personal Identity

Fraud and Phishing Attacks Proliferate, Especially Around the Holidays

It may come as at text message, a phone call, or an email.

Someone may warn you that an account is in arrears, your Social Security Number is being "suspended," or that you may be arrested for "fraud." They may even have a portion of your SSN as "proof," and claim they are going to increase your benefit.

They may claim that your SSN is being used to commit fraud in another state and that you need to call "them" back as soon as possible, or warn of pending legal action. They may say that your "account" is being renewed on your pre-arranged credit card for some service you never subscribed to.

NEVER reply.

These are all examples of "phishing" attacks that are seeking your personal information in order to cheat or steal from you.

Fraud has become a multi-billion dollar industry, and despite warnings, hundreds of thousands of Americans fall victim to these attacks every year. Don't be one of them.

It's important to understand that the Internal Revenue Service, the Social Security Administration, and other government organizations will never call you on the phone. They will mail you needed information. If you log onto their sites online, be sure that the web address, or URL, clearly shows that you are connected to a .gov website.

You will never get a legitimate call from a "private investigator" who is working on a bank fraud case and asking for your help, another common scam. They may simply try to sell you an auto warranty. Just hang up.

If someone asks you for secrecy, it's they who are trying to hide. Never give a credit or debit card number, or any other personal information to a caller, or anyone who says they need to "confirm your identity." Never listen to anyone who tries to gain your trust by providing fake "documentation," false "evidence," or the name of a real government official is a SCAM!

If one of these happens to you, the Social Security Administration advises that you take these steps:

• Try to stay calm.

• Do not provide anyone with money or personal information when you feel pressured, threatened, or scared.

• Hang up or ignore it. If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email, hang up or do not respond. Government employees will not threaten you, demand immediate payment, or try to gain your trust by sending you pictures or documents.

Report a Scam to the Social Security Administration by clicking here..

If you receive a suspicious call, text, or email that mentions Social Security, ignore it and report it to the SSA Office of the Inspector General (OIG). Do not be embarrassed if you shared personal information or suffered a financial loss.

Get up-to-date information. Follow SSA OIG on Twitter @TheSSAOIG and Facebook @SSA Office of the Inspector General for the latest information on Social Security-related scams. Visit the Federal Trade Commission for information on other government scams.

Spread the word. Share your knowledge of Social Security-related scams. Post on social media using the hashtag #SlamtheScam to share your experience and warn others. Visit for more information. Please also share with your friends and family.


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