By David G. Freitag, Financial Planning Consultant with MassMutual ~
Robocalls have always been infuriating.
But what should you do if you’re not sure it’s a robocall or the Social Security Administration (SSA)?
We asked David Freitag, a financial planning consultant with MassMutual, about this growing and concerning phenomenon.
Heidi: Tell us about the robocalls people are receiving. How do you know if they are real or a scam, and what should people do?
David: Robocalls leave a message on your phone that goes something like this: “This is Mary, on a recorded line calling from the Social Security Administration. Your Social Security number has been suspended. To reinstate your number please call 800-xxx-xxxx and speak with one of our specialists. It is important to call as soon as you can to make sure we get this problem resolved.”
If you do call the 800 number, the person on the other end of the line will ask for a bank account number, cash, retail gift card, prepaid debit card, or a wire transfer to correct the so-called problem.
This is a national scam. It is also something the Social Security Administration knows about. [The SSA] is actively trying to help people understand this is fraudulent activity designed to fool people into giving away their money. You should visit the Social Security Administration web site. Just click on this link, and it will take you to their frequently asked questions page. https://faq.ssa.gov/en-us/Topic/article/KA-10018.
Heidi: What can individuals do to help prevent this scam from taking their money?
David: You need to understand the Social Security Administration does not make outgoing unsolicited calls about your account. They will return calls you make to them about your account, but they do not just call out of the blue. These calls typically confirm changes to your account that you initiate.
Second, you should set-up a myAccount with the Social Security Administration. Follow this link: https://www.ssa.gov/myaccount/. With a myAccount, you now have the protection of a unique username and password that is known only by you! Plus, the SSA has implemented two-factor authentication to make sure scammers cannot get to your personal information.
If you get one of these calls, do not provide payment of any kind over the phone.
Remember, the best thing to do is HANG UP or never return the call, at all.