SSA Announces National Slam the Scam Day to Stop Government Impersonation Scams and Educate the Public
National Slam the Scam Day is March 5th. The endeavor is a joint effort from the US Social Security Administration (SSA) and the Federal Trade Commission as part of National Consumer Protection Week. The mission of Slam the Scam Day to educate citizens about telephone scams that attempt to trick victims out of their data and money by impersonating government employees. In these types of scams, called impersonation scams, fraudsters try to convince the victim into giving away personal information like social security numbers, birthdate, bank account numbers, and other information that can be used to steal their identity. Other scammers may try to steal money by demanding payment for non-existent tax bills over the phone. Tactics involve slowly building trust to get information from the victim or using scare tactics to intimidate the victim into taking immediate action.
The US Social Security Administration is the most frequently impersonated US government agency. Scammers will call to try and fool or intimidate seniors into sending them money. Seniors often suffer the largest monetary losses in online and phone scams. Fraudsters may even send official looking letters via email to try and convince victims that they are official government employees. Legitimate US Government employees use USPS Postal mail, not emails to send notices.
PHONE SCAM RELATED READS
- Tax Scams – Beware of the Taxpayer Advocate Service Scam
- IRS Scam – Emotet Malware W-9 Tax Scam
- IRS Warns of New Email Tax Scam
The Internal Revenue Service is another commonly impersonated agency, especially around tax filing season, from January to April each year. Other agencies that scammers often try to impersonate are Medicare and the Census Bureau.
Slam the Scam Day events include a free webinar with speakers from various agencies. Visit Social Security Administration’s Slam the Scam webpage for more information and tips to avoid scams.
The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) reminds consumers that:
- Government agencies only initiate contact for issues using regular US Postal (USPS) mail
- Government employees do not call unless you initiated the call first
- They do not send you SMS text messages
- Government employees do not call to demand immediate payment over the phone
- Government agencies do not take payments over the phone, even if you called them
- Gift cards are never accepted as a form of payment
- Prepaid debit cards, wire transfers are also not accepted
- Anyone posing as a government employee and asking for payment with cryptocurrency is definitely scammer
Scam Calls – What Do I Do?
- If you receive a phone call that you feel is fraudulent, hang up the phone (or slam it!)
- Look carefully at email address to spot scammers and phishing scams
- Never send cash in the mail
- Never open email attachments from someone you don’t know!
If you want to be sure someone contacting you is indeed a legitimate government agency, look up the contact information for that agency on their website and call or email them directly. Do not accept or use the contact information given to you by the scammer.