Do you remember when we thought telemarketers calling during dinner was the worst thing about having a phone? Now, we are bombarded with junk calls from autodialers who at best want to sell us something, but more often than not are trying to steal our identities or scam us.
People who are applying for Social Security Disability benefits are a popular target for fraudsters because they know applicants are anxious to get their benefits and are used to sharing lots of personal information about themselves.
The Scammer’s Script
Scam artists will call and say they work for the Social Security Administration (SSA). They will then tell you that you need to confirm some information in your application or say that your application is incomplete and that they will help you fill it out over the phone.
They may try to scare you into giving them information by claiming that you will be arrested or deported if you don’t cooperate. They may also make you think that your application will be denied or your benefits will be cut off. Sometimes, they claim you owe the government money and pressure you to make a payment.
How Can You Tell What Is a Scam and What Isn’t?
Here are a few things the Federal Trade Commission recommends you do to protect yourself from Social Security scammers:
- Never give your Social Security number or account numbers to someone who calls you.
- Don’t wire money or send money using a prepaid debit card. In fact, never pay someone who calls out of the blue.
- If you have disability benefits, regularly check their status, and review your statements to make sure they’re right.
- Pressured to provide your information? That’s a sure sign of a scam. Hang up immediately and report it to the Social Security Fraud Hotline and the FTC.
- Remember, the real SSA will never threaten you, and it will rarely ask for your personal information over the phone.
What If I Think a Call Is Legitimate?
If you get a call that you think is legitimate, ask the caller if you can take a message and return their call later. If you are represented by an attorney, you can hand the information you are given off to them. If you are not working with an attorney, you can call the SSA’s main telephone number and verify the person who contacted you was really an SSA employee.
In most cases where the SSA truly needs more information from you, it is not information you will know off the top of your head. It is something you will need to look up or figure out. So refusing to answer questions over the phone, which gives you the opportunity to verify you are not being scammed, is not going to negatively impact your case. It is okay to take time to make sure you are not being scammed.
Seelig Law Offices is here to help if you suspect you are being targeted by scammers, but want to ensure your application for Social Security Disability benefits is in good order. Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation.