Scammers Spoofing Social Security Administration
The holidays are a hot time for scammers of all kinds who
are trying to trick consumers out of their hard-earned cash. Department of Ag,
Trade, and Consumer Protection Director Michelle Reinen tells us one recent
scam is once again pretending to be a government agency.
She says “scammers
of course are calling our state, and what we’ve heard that’s circulating right
now is that they are spoofing the Social Security Administration’s ‘800’ number,
their customer service number, to try to get personal information. So when you
see the caller ID, you think ‘oh government, social security, I need to answer
Reinen explains that “the
caller is claiming to work for the Social Security Administration and that they
need your personal information – of course, that being your Social Security
number – to increase your benefits payment. So that’s very enticing with the
increase. And if you don’t give the information, then there’s an entire threat
that they’ll cut off your benefits, so that – of course – is concerning as
These calls often come unexpected, which is not something the government would do.
Reinen points out that the “government, the Social Security Administration, they don’t make phone calls out of the blue. They may respond to an inquiry you made directly to them, but nothing ever out of the blue. They won’t ever threaten you to get personal information, and they won’t make promises to increase your benefits in exchange for that information.”
She also says there is no incentive for actual employees of the Social Security Administration to push consumers to do anything.
Reinen says employees of the Social Security Administration are not salespeople, “they’re
there to give you all of the information so you can make those decisions on
what’s best for you, they don’t have a dog in the fight, if you will. They’re
not working on commission, they’re advisory. So ask the questions when you make
the phone call, but you don’t need to respond to these out of the blue phone
Anyone who receives a call offering to increase benefits in exchange for personal information – or has a caller threaten to cancel benefits – should just hang up.