A new Social Security scam is using scare tactics and prepaid cards to steal victims’ money.
The new scam involves phone calls from criminals claiming to be from the Social Security Administration and reporting there has been suspicious activity involving the potential victim’s Social Security number (SSN), according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. The fraudsters encourage the potential victim to move the money from his or her bank account to a prepaid debit or other reloadable card in order to protect it. The potential victim receives a follow-up phone call from the criminals posing as Social Security Administration agents to confirm he or she has moved the money to a reloadable card and to request the card’s account number and PIN for their files. Then, the prepaid card is drained of its funds.
This new scam is the most recent involving criminals claiming to be Social Security Administration agents. Another common scam is fraudsters calling to inform a potential victim that his or her SSN has been suspended and can no longer be used. They ask the potential victim to confirm his or her SSN as well as other personal information so the number can be reinstated. Once the criminals obtain this information, they can steal victims’ identities and use them to take out loans in their names, apply for credit cards in their names, clone debit cards, make fraudulent purchases, and more.
How can you protect yourself?
Be suspicious of anyone calling and claiming to be from the Social Securing Administration or any other government agency. If they start to ask for your personal information, including your SSN, hang up. You should never give out your personal information over the phone. You also shouldn’t include personal information on emails, texts, or other electronic communication unless it’s secure. If you are concerned there is an issue, call the Social Security Administration directly at (800) 772-1213.
Another important way to protect your identity is credit and identity theft monitoring. Credit and identity theft monitoring gives you insight into your credit report and non-credit related information and alerts you to suspicious activity so you can act quickly and have financial peace of mind.