WHAT IS SLAM THE SCAM?
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, has designated a National “Slam the Scam” Day to warn Americans about widespread phone scams where callers impersonate government officials, most often Social Security, to gain your trust and steal your money. This is a National Consumer Protection Week initiative.
On Thursday, March 5 at 11 a.m. ET, AARP will release a webinar with a consumer protection message from the Federal Trade Commission and colleagues from Medicare, the Internal Revenue Service, the Census Bureau, and SSA. During this webinar, you will learn how to recognize, report and keep you and your loved ones safe from government imposter scams. You can register for the event here.
Also on Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, we will be on Twitter with USA.gov, and at 7 p.m. on Facebook Live with Social Security, to answer your questions and deliver our key messages:
- HANG UP on phone scams
- TELL your friends and family
Let’s SLAM phone scams together!
FACT SHEET: NATIONAL “SLAM THE SCAM” DAY
Download a PDF Info Sheet here.
Scam artists go to great lengths to trick you out of your personal information or money. As the above video explains, by educating yourself and knowing how to identify and report scams, you can stay several steps ahead of these thieves.
LEARN ABOUT AND REPORT SCAMS
The Federal Trade Commission has many resources to help you learn about scams, and report and recover from identity theft at the links below:
Please report Social Security-related scams at https://secure.ssa.gov/ipff/home.
If you believe you have been a victim of an IRS impersonation scam, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.
3 TIPS TO PROTECT YOURSELF
Understand the threats. Fraudsters use several forms of impersonation, advance fee, and phishing schemes. They might contact you and claim to be from SSA, the IRS, or another government agency and request your information. They might claim that you have won the lottery or become eligible for an investment if you pay an upfront fee. They might design emails or text messages that look legitimate and request your immediate response. Be aware of these types of schemes, so you can identify them and guard against them.
Exercise caution. In general, no government agency or reputable company will call or email you unexpectedly and request your personal information, or request advance fees for services in the form of wire transfers or gift cards. Build a habit of verifying the identity of anyone who asks for your personal information over the phone, and say you will respond through the entity’s customer service channels. If anyone pressures you to provide information or money over the phone, it’s a scam and you should just hang up.
Secure your information. Store your Social Security card in a secure location; avoid carrying it with you. Shred documents that list personal information such as your Social Security number and banking information. Avoid opening emails from unknown sources or clicking on suspicious hyperlinks. Equip your computing devices with strong anti-virus software and maintain strong passwords. Regularly check your credit reports for suspicious activity.
BEWARE OF FRAUDULENT LETTERS IMPERSONATING SSA AND SSA OIG
Phone scammers may offer to send official letters or reports by email to convince you they are legitimate government employees. Do not believe them! The letters may appear to be from Social Security or Social Security OIG, with official letterhead and government “jargon.” They may also contain misspellings and typos. Beware! You can view fake documents used in a scam by clicking the links below.
- Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Letter
- Sample of Fake Social Security Administration Letter
- Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Report
- Sample of Fake Social Security Administration OIG Abbreviations Page 1 and Page 2
FACT SHEET: BEWARE OF SOCIAL SECURITY PHONE SCAMS
Download a PDF Info Sheet here.