Jane Yamamoto-Burigsay
Courtesy: Social Security Administration

In the digital age, frauds and scams are an unfortunate part of doing business online. During the holiday season, Social Security usually sees a spike in phishing scams, so we want to protect you as best as we can.

We encourage you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to individuals you do not know over the phone or internet. Be extra careful if you receive a call that you were not expecting. You can always get the caller’s information, hang up and, if you need more clarification, contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal information to a stranger who calls you.

Beware because there is a scam going around right now. You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security or another agency. The calls may even display the 1-800-772-1213 number, Social Security’s national customer service number, as the incoming number on your caller ID. In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your Social Security number, on file. Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information. This appears to be a widespread issue, according to reports from people across the country. These calls are not from Social Security.

Callers sometimes state that your Social Security number is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to provide a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme’s details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and you should just hang up. If you receive such a call, report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

Remember, call only official phone numbers and use secured websites of the agencies and businesses you know are correct. Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission to secure today and tomorrow.

Jane Burigsay is Social Security’s public affairs specialist in Hawai‘i.


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