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Payroll Today

Inspector general warns public about SSA impersonation schemes

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Alice Gilman

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in Payroll Today

We often wonder how low ID thieves will go. Apparently, they haven’t hit bottom yet. The acting inspector general of the Social Security Administration recently issued a warning about ongoing Social Security Administration impersonation schemes.

Problem: Unlike the IRS, which never phones taxpayers, SSA customer service reps do call individuals.

You need to be proactive and warn employees now. Otherwise, they may think you’re responsible for an identity theft breach, since you’re the keeper of their Social Security numbers.

Two schemes

The SSA’s Office of the Inspector General reports that these schemes have usually taken one of two forms:

  • A robocaller states that the person’s SSN has been suspended for suspicious illegal activity and that the person should immediately call a provided phone number to resolve the issue. The call concludes by stating if the person doesn’t call, his or her assets will be frozen until the alleged issue is resolved.
  • A caller claims to be from SSA headquarters and waits for the person to provide personal information, such as an SSN, address and date of birth.

SSA employees occasionally do contact individuals by phone for customer-service purposes. And sometimes they do ask individuals to confirm their personal information over the phone. But the SSA says that whomever they call knows the circumstances that prompted the call. In other words, these calls don’t come from out of the blue.

This is also a good opportunity for you to remind employees to be cautious and to avoid providing information, such as their SSNs or bank account numbers, over the phone or the internet unless they know who’s receiving it. When in doubt, they should contact the entity that’s requesting the information to verify the legitimacy of the call.

Employees who receive a suspicious call from someone claiming to be from the SSA should report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

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