Social Security numbers are like a gold mine for identity thieves and scammers. Many people who get Social Security benefits are already vulnerable because of age or disability. Criminals take advantage of this. They trick innocent people into giving away private information about themselves. They then use this information for their own gain. In 2017, 16.7 million people fell victim, an increase of one million victims over the previous year.
Some scammers call and say there has been a computer problem and they need to verify your Social Security numbers. Others collect information via websites set up to look like valid government sites. Some even go through victims’ trash or steal their mail. They then assume the victim’s identity. Whatever the method, identity theft is a major problem in South Carolina and the wider United States. It can take a long time for people to recognize they were compromised.
Scammers are smart, but you can do everything in your power to protect yourself. If you apply for Social Security benefits, there are some steps you need to take. No one should be able to make a living off your well-deserved disability benefits. If you have already fallen victim, don’t be ashamed. Just try to make sure it never happens again.
Advice from Disability Attorneys in Greenville, SC on How to Avoid Scams
With a little extra caution, you can reduce your chances of falling victim to a scam. You should:
Never give callers your personal information.
- If someone calls you on the phone, don’t give them any sensitive information. This includes your bank account details, credit card number or Social Security number. You can’t be sure who is contacting you so it is best not to give out any information. If the person tries to pressure you or they threaten you, you can be sure it is not a legitimate call. Don’t give in to their threats.
Never trust someone just because they sound official or professional.
- Scammers tend to use names and titles which sound official in order to get you to trust them. They may even use a falsified area code to make you think they are in a particular location. In reality, you could be talking to anyone anywhere in the world. Don’t assume people are who they say they are.
Never give out personal information via email or text.
- The SSA will never ask you to do this. If you get such a message, it is definitely a scam. If you do not recognize the sender’s name or email address, delete the message. You can take a screenshot and contact the SSA to ensure they are aware of the scam.
Never let a representative payee handle your benefits without checking your statements.
- Sometimes those you trust are the ones who betray you. If you are disabled, it is understandable that someone else may be taking care of your benefits. However, you should always check your monthly statements and store them in a safe place. You should keep all related documents in a safe place as well.
To protect yourself, check with the Social Security Administration any time you are unsure. The SSA has issued several warnings about scams. You should contact them directly if you received a suspicious call. Ask them to verify if they had reason to contact you. They should also be able to identify the name of the person who reached out to you. They can let you speak to the person then or have them contact you later. This may seem like a lot of work but it is really better to be safe than sorry.
Contact A Social Security Disability Lawyer in Greenville, SC for Assistance
If you believe you have been a victim of identity theft or another scam, you need an attorney. This is especially the case if you believe you aren’t getting satisfaction from the Social Security Administration. When you are trying to manage a disability and life’s usual challenges, a matter like this can be overwhelming. Instead of trying to handle things on your own, contact J. Robert Surface in Greenville, SC. Schedule your consultation and we will get on your case. We will sort out all the varying elements and work to protect your benefits. Make that call today!