January 1, 2021

YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY | Rock Island, Illinois Office

By Cristina Vital
Social Security Manager
Rock Island Social Security Office

THREE WAYS TO FIGHT SCAMMERS WHO TARGET YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY BENEFITS

Scammers are always finding new ways to steal your money and personal information by exploiting your fears. The most effective way to defeat scammers is to know how to identify scams and to ignore suspicious calls and emails.

One common tactic scammers use is posing as federal agents and other law enforcement. They may claim your Social Security number is linked to a crime. They may even threaten to arrest you if you do not comply with their instructions. Here are three things you can do:

  • Hang up right away or do not reply to the email.
  • Never give personal information, money, or retail gift cards.
  • Report the scam at oig.ssa.gov immediately to Social Security’s law enforcement team at the Office of the Inspector General.
  • You should continue to remain vigilant of phone calls when someone says there’s a problem with your Social Security number or your benefits. If you owe money to Social Security, we will mail you a letter explaining your rights, payment options, and information about appealing.

There are a few ways you can identify a scam call or email. Remember that we will never:

  • Threaten you with benefit suspension, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee.
  • Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment.
  • Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card.
  • Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem.
  • Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email.

If you do not have ongoing business with our agency, it is unlikely we will contact you. Again, if you get a suspicious call claiming to be from Social Security, you should hang up and report it right away to our Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov.

FOUR QUESTIONS ABOUT SOCIAL SECURITY THAT CAN HELP YOU PLAN YOUR RETIREMENT

Social Security benefits are part of the retirement plan of almost every American worker. If you’re among the many people covered under Social Security, you should know what your future benefit may be. These monthly payments may be a vital part of your retirement income.

We base your benefit payment on how much you earned during your working career. Higher lifetime earnings result in higher benefits. If there were some years you didn’t work or had low earnings, your benefit amount may be lower than if you had worked steadily. Even if you have never worked under Social Security, you may be able to get spouse’s retirement benefits if you are at least 62 years old and your spouse receives retirement or disability benefits.

Our online retirement portal at www.ssa.gov/retirement is a great place to start mapping out your retirement plan. There, we provide important information that you should know. For example, have you considered:

  • When you should apply to start retirement benefits?
  • What documents you need to provide?
  • Which factors may affect your retirement benefits?
  • What you should remember to do after you apply for retirement benefits?

You can use your personal my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount to get an instant estimate of your future retirement benefits. You can also see the effects of
starting your retirement benefits at different ages.

Benefits for family members may also be important to you. When you start receiving Social Security retirement
benefits, members of your family may also qualify to receive benefits on your record. You can learn more at www.ssa.gov/benefits. Please share this information with
family and friends to help them prepare for retirement.

Filed Under: Retirement