Better Business Bureau: Don’t give Social Security info over phone

October 31, 2013 

Better Business Bureau serving the Snake River Region is warning seniors to never give out Social Security numbers, Medicare/Medicaid numbers and bank account information over the phone.

Many area residents have received phone calls falsely informing them that the Social Security Administration is mailing everyone new Social Security cards. To receive the card, the caller only needs to verify a few things and with that the new Social Security card will be on its way.

“We’ve been inundated with calls during the past two weeks as Medicare/Medicaid renewal gets underway,” says Dale Dixon, CEO for BBB. “The fraudsters know this is a prime opportunity to take advantage of people who need these services.”

The caller then verifies the recipient’s name, address, age and sometimes will ask for the Social Security number, supposedly just to make sure there’s no error on the card, as well as bank account information.

When the person called asks why the caller needs the name of the bank, the scammers have a couple of different answers. They claim sometimes it’s because the Social Security Administration needs to know where to deposit the monthly Social Security check while at other times the caller says it’s to make sure he is talking with the person who is to receive the new card.

For those who refuse to answer the question, the conversation usually ends with the caller being quite disturbed and hanging up.

This is a scheme to get personal information for identity theft purposes and, of course, there is the big risk that money will be withdrawn from the accounts of those who cooperated by providing all the requested information.

BBB offers the following tips to avoid falling for this scheme:

• Do not give your bank account information, Medicare number, Social Security number or any other personal information to unknown people over the phone — particularly telephone marketers claiming to be from the SSA or Medicare asking for payment.

• Social Security recipients usually do get letters from the government when their benefits increase or the government may send out a statement on taxes paid and future benefits due. But, the federal government never asks for someone’s Social Security number — they already know it.

• If you receive misleading information about a “Social Security” service from someone seeking payment for the service, send the solicitation to the Social Security Administration. If you have a complaint about a company you believe has defrauded you, contact the Better Business Bureau.

• If you believe your Social Security number has been compromised, please tell TransUnion Fraud Alert Assistance at (800) 680-7289.

If your bank information has been compromised, please contact your bank to prevent unauthorized and fraudulent transactions.

Remember that new Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid cards are not being issued to those who already have a number. Do not give the unknown caller any information — just hang up.

Robb Hicken: 947-2115

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