Social Security Tips – March 2019

 

 

Beware of scammers pretending to be from Social Security

 

In the digital age, frauds and scams are an unfortunate part of doing business online.  Social Security has seen a spike in phishing scams, and we want to protect you as best we can.

 

Please take note; there’s a Social Security impersonation scam going around right now.  

 

You might receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security—it is critical that you pay attention to the tone and content of the message from the caller.   In some cases, the caller states that Social Security does not have all of your personal information, such as your Social Security number (SSN), on file.  Other callers claim Social Security needs additional information so the agency can increase your benefit payment, or they threaten that Social Security will terminate your benefits if they do not confirm your information.  This appears to be a widespread issue, as reports have come from people across the country.  These calls are not from Social Security.

 

If you receive a call from someone claiming to be from Social Security, we urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your SSN or bank account information.  Never reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you, and never send the stranger money via wire transfer or gift cards.

 

Social Security employees occasionally contact people by telephone for customer-service purposes, usually when they have business pending with us.  In some cases, also usually known by a person, a Social Security employee may request the person confirm personal information over the phone.

However, Social Security employees will never threaten you for information; they will not state that you face potential arrest or other legal action if you fail to provide information or pay a fee.  In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up.  If you receive these calls, please report the information to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

 

Remember, only call official phone numbers and use secured websites of the agencies and businesses you know are correct.   Protecting your information is an important part of Social Security’s mission to secure today and tomorrow.

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April is National Social Security Month – a month dedicated to educating the public about their programs and services. In 2019, the focus is “What You Can Do Online”, highlighting the numerous online transactions that can be done online at www.ssa.gov.

 

An underlying theme throughout the month will be the transactions available in one’s personal my Social Security account.

 

Many think that an account is just for those that are receiving benefits or will be receiving benefits in the near future. Not true. Anyone 18 years of age and older, that has a valid email address and U.S. mailing address, can create an account. Why would someone as young as 18 want to create an account?

 

  • To ensure their earnings over their lifetime get posted properly.

 

  • To request a replacement Social Security card when needed.

 

  • To view future benefit estimates for themselves and their family.

 

  • To ensure their account is safe and secure with their chosen username and password.

 

 

If there’s only one thing that you do during National Social Security Month, do this – create a my Social Security account at www.ssa.gov/myaccount

 

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The Q&A for the month:

Question: A client of mine is going to sign up for benefits tomorrow at FRA (full retirement age) of 66.  Birthdate is April 17th. Can she file and tell them she may want to delay for a few months or a year and then call or go in to start the benefits later? The reason is we may want to delay due to her financial plan.

 

Answer: Once someone is FRA, they can suspend their benefits at any point after that. Payments are suspended the month following the month the request was made to suspend. Benefits will unsuspend automatically at age 70 or the month following the month of the request, if earlier.

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