November 8, 2019

How the Social Security Scammer Stole Christmas

You grab a mug of hot cocoa, wrap up in a blanket, and sink into the couch. It’s time to make a list and check it twice: Bake cookies. Wrap gifts. Trim the tree. All is calm and all is bright – until you’re interrupted by a phone call.

An urgent voice on the other end says he is an official from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Your Social Security Number (SSN) has been suspended due to suspicious or criminal activity. Oh – and your bank account is about to be seized! In order to “reactivate” your SSN and keep your money safe, you must confirm some personal information.

From Tinsel to Tizzy

How can this be happening? In a wave of holiday dread, you provide the details the professional requests – including your SSN.

Unfortunately, this is an imposter who now has access to your identity. He can drain your bank accounts, apply for credit cards in your name, and leave lasting effects on your credit history. In a few short minutes your list has significantly changed: File a police report. Contact your bank. Freeze your credit.

Don’t Let Fraud Ruin Holiday Cheer

Scammers often ramp up their efforts during the holidays to take advantage of consumers’ busy schedules and increased spending habits.

Keep these tips in mind to protect yourself from government imposters:

  • Your SSN will never be suspended and does not need to be verified. Never give any part of your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. This includes your bank account and credit card numbers too.
  • Do not trust a name, phone number, or email address just because it seems to relate to the government. Con artists use official-sounding names and may fake caller ID or email address information to make you trust them. Instead, contact government agencies directly using telephone numbers and website addresses you know to be legitimate.
  • Never give out or confirm personal information over the phone, via email, or on a website until you’ve checked out whoever is asking you for it.
  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do so is a scammer.

Fortifi Bank takes fraud prevention seriously. Want to learn more about identity theft prevention and what to do if you or a loved one falls victim? Contact us now for a free booklet.


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