We have received word of a new scam to claim benefits using your
social security number
, which could now very well be in the hands of cyber thieves, thanks to the recent
In this case, the criminals did not even have to log in to the victim's social security account! They simply went to the website and clicked "File a claim for benefits," entered the personal information they had stolen, updated the victim's profile with a different phone number and new email address, and then added a direct deposit to Green Dot Bank. Turns out, Green Dot "Bank" offers online accounts with untraceable debit cards (no credit check needed - so the victim's credit freezes were ineffective in stopping the fraud).
Since the victim's address was unchanged, he got a letter from the Social Security Administration approving his "claim" for
almost $20,000 in retirement benefits. When he immediately contacted the agency, he found out the money had already been deposited to the fraudulent account and there was no getting it back - great work, SSA!
So what can you do to protect your social security number?
- You can create an online account before someone else does, especially if you are eligible for benefits. Here's a video on how to create your own SSA account.
- If you already have an account, monitor it closely and check your profile for incorrect information.
- You can now add an additional layer of security to your account, in addition to your username and password. Providing your cell phone number or email address will enable two-factor authentication when you log in (a security code will be sent). You need to provide financial information to verify your identity for this "extra security" feature.
- You cannot create an SSA account online if you have put a freeze on your credit.
- You can block access to your SSA information so that no one, including yourself, will be able to see or change your personal information, either online or by automated telephone service. To unblock access, you will have to speak to a representative or visit an SSA office and prove your identity.
- Remember that, just like the IRS, the Social Security Administration will not call you to verify any information - so don't give any out!
- Don't provide your SSN unless absolutely necessary or required by law.
We are doing our best to protect your valuable information!