How to guard against identity theft when the phone rings

Published: Jun. 28, 2019 at 11:42 AM CDT
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Like passing storms this time of year the metro is getting showered with scam phone calls.

Senior citizens and the disabled are especially vulnerable because of phone threats to their Social Security checks.

Jill Marie Fleming’s voicemail is full of scam calls. She said, “I’ve had more than 150.”

Jill ignores most but can’t erase her concern about one scam call because she relies on disability benefits.

The caller said, “We just suspended your Social Security number because we found some suspicious activity.”

But she knows it’s a trick and said, “Don’t give out any numbers. Don’t give out any information. Don’t give out any account numbers - nothing.”

One scam victim wishes she hadn’t given out her Social Security number, “and I got caught because the guy on the phone was convincing and I was scared. I was so scared.”

Six on Your Side called the caller only to hear, “Your call cannot be completed.”

She reported theft of her Social Security number, changed her bank account number and notified credit bureaus but the one moment she got fooled comes back every day with the mail and “a bill that’s not mine.”

A Social Security spokesperson tell us that Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a benefit increase in exchange for personal information. These scam calls can be reported to the office of the Inspector General.

The Social Security Administration provided us with the following statement:

Social Security is committed to protecting your personal information. We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number (SSN) or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or internet. If you receive a call and aren't expecting one, you must be extra careful. You can always get the caller's information, hang up, and - if you do need more clarification - contact the official phone number of the business or agency that the caller claims to represent. Never reveal personal data to a stranger who called you.

Callers sometimes state that your SSN is at risk of being deactivated or deleted. The caller then asks you to call a phone number to resolve the issue. People should be aware that the scheme's details may vary; however, you should avoid engaging with the caller or calling the number provided, as the caller might attempt to acquire personal information.

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes. In only a very few special situations, such as when you have business pending with us, will a Social Security employee request that the person confirm personal information over the phone.

Social Security employees will never threaten you or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up. If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at


Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security's mission. Scammers try to stay a step ahead of us, but with an informed public and your help, we can stop these criminals before they cause serious financial damage.

Office Of
The Inspector General

 Online at: