If You’re Disabled, You Have Enough Going On. You Don’t Need to be Scammed, Too.
March 1st, 2019 by Attorney John Colvin
Imagine this scenario: You’re facing real challenges. Whether because of an accident, disease or inherited condition, you’re too disabled to work. Money is tight and you need your Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. But there are many out there who would be more than happy to cheat you out of whatever money you have; and they use the telephone, emails and websites every day to try to do it.
The Social Security Administration (SSA) warns those getting benefits that they need to be very careful to avoid giving sensitive information (such as Social Security Number (SSN) or bank account information) to people they don’t know or who claim to work for the SSA. If you get a call “out of the blue,” be especially cautious.
You can listen to what is said if you want, take notes on what they claim is needed, but don’t say anything back — especially information like your SSN or bank account information. You can hang up and contact the SSA through their actual phone number (1-800-772-1213) to see whether there really is a problem.
Scammers are particularly active near the holidays, but they’re always looking for a quick buck. The details of the calls may vary, but, generally, here’s what to watch for:
- You might get a call from a person claiming to be from the SSA or another federal agency.
- If you have caller ID, the number may appear to be the SSA’s national customer service number.
- The caller may claim that Social Security is missing some of your personal information and then they ask for it.
- They may claim that Social Security needs more information to increase your benefits payment, or that your benefits will end, or that your SSN will be deactivated unless you provide information.
These are NOT calls from Social Security. Avoid engaging with the caller or calling a number they provide. SSA calls people for customer service purposes, but only rarely will an employee request confirmation of personal information over the phone.
What SSA won’t do is threaten a loss of benefits if you don’t cooperate or promise a benefit approval or to increase it if you provide information. If that’s what the other person is talking about, it’s a scam and you should hang up. If you get these calls, report it to SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online.
If you are now getting or have applied for SSDI benefits and have received one of these bogus phone calls, don’t play the game they want you to play. These people are dishonest and have no problem cheating those who can least afford to be cheated.
If you have questions about SSDI benefits or want help with an appeal after a denial of benefits, contact John R. Colvin so we can answer your questions, tell you about your options and suggest the best way to proceed.