Q&A of the day – The Government Shutdown Social Security Scam
Each day I’ll feature a listener question that’s been submitted by one of these methods.
Facebook: Brian Mudd https://www.facebook.com/brian.mudd1
Feel free to shoot away with your questions and I’ll do my best to keep up. Today’s question comes from Nancy.
I received a call from with the caller ID showing it was Social Security with their correct number (I looked it up); with a recorded message telling me my Social Security had been canceled and I would not receive any more checks and said press 1 to speak to a representative. I hung up and called S.S. myself. They said this call was a hoax and if I had pressed 1 the call would have been transferred to a foreign country. The caller ID and the number were correct but the Press 1 was fake. Please let people on SS know this.
Bottom Line: I’m so glad to hear that you did the right thing. Social Security scams are not new, but we’ve added the new wrinkle of the partial government shutdown to the mix. Every time there’s a major news catalyst that’s known by the collective there are scammers that are ready to capitalize. The Social Security and similar government program related scams have ramped up over the past couple of weeks as scammers attempt to use the confusion of the partial government shutdown to catch people with their guard down and feeling vulnerable.
First, to be clear, there’s zero impact on Social Security or Medicare during this partial shutdown. Even if it never ended there wouldn’t be any impact to those programs. So, whether it’s this type of scam or anything similar, let your parents know. Second, these days never provide any personal information or any account information over the phone to anyone you didn’t initiate a call with. It's not worth taking a chance and most will be scammers.
What Nancy did is what you should always do if you’re in doubt. Hang up, look up the real contact information for the organization and call them directly. Phone number emulators are used regularly. Often numbers are masked to emulate organizations like Social Security or even local area codes to catch you off guard as well. For that reason, you can’t solely rely on your caller ID.
Scammers today are more convincing and effective than they’ve ever been. Many are former professionally trained call center employees overseas, who became hired hands working for criminal organizations. Always be on guard and make sure your kids and parents are too.
Photo By: Craig F. Walker / The Denver Post