Being aware of fraud is your first step to avoiding it
By: Vonda VanTil, Social Security Public Affairs Specialist
When it comes to doing business with Social Security online, there is little to worry about—all of our online services are protected by strong Internet security protocols and you should have confidence that they are safe and secure. There are other ways identity thieves and criminals can obtain your personal information and cause you significant harm. Here are some tips to help keep that from happening.
If someone contacts you claiming to be from Social Security and asks for your Social Security number, date of birth, or other identifying information, beware. Don’t provide your personal information without first contacting Social Security to verify if Social Security is really trying to contact you. It could be an identity thief phishing for your personal information. Call Social Security’s toll-free number at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
If you receive a suspicious call, report it by going to http://oig.ssa.gov/report or call
1-800-269-0271 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. You should provide as much of the following information as you know:
· The alleged suspect(s) and victim(s) names, address(es), phone number(s), date(s) of birth, and Social Security number(s);
· Description of the fraud and the location where the fraud took place;
· When and how the fraud was committed;
· Why the person committed the fraud (if known); and
· Who else has knowledge of the potential violation.
Identity theft is one of the fastest-growing crimes in America. If you or anyone you know has been the victim of an identity thief, contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.idtheft.gov, or 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338); TTY 1-866-653-4261.
Vonda VanTil is the public affairs specialist for West Michigan. You can write her c/o Social Security Administration, 3045 Knapp St NE, Grand Rapids MI 49525 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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