Q: I received a call last week from Social Security informing me I had not provided them correct information and had been fraudulent in receiving benefits not entitled to me. They were very aggressive on the phone and started asking me all kinds of questions. I got so nervous and upset I hung up on them. I can’t afford to lose my monthly check so should I call them back?
A: Here we go again, just one more example of unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. The cyber-criminals at this point have developed technology to “spoof” phone numbers. They can call from any location but the caller ID shows a different phone number making people believe it is a legitimate call.
The call you received sounds very similar to ones other beneficiaries across the country have been receiving lately. The big concern is the 1-800-772-1213 number displayed on your phone actually is the Social Security Administration number (SSA). It is important to point out actual SSA personnel will never threaten someone over the phone. Typically if there is a problem SSA will first send out a letter informing the beneficiary of an issue that requires attention. Anyone who receives a suspicious call should hang up immediately and call SSA directly. Above all else do not give out personal information over the phone unless you know for sure the call is legitimate.
If you receive a call such as the one described you are encouraged to make a report to SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
Are you struggling caring for an older adult or having difficulty locating resources? Our staff is available for a no-cost consultation, set up at your convenience, to help guide you through your caregiving experience. For more details or to schedule an appointment, please call 800-892-0890.
Do you have a question? We encourage inquiries and comments from our readers. Please direct your correspondence to email@example.com or Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley, Inc., Age Information Department, 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 400, Lawrence, MA 01843. Joan Hatem-Roy is the CEO of Elder Services.