A new scam is threatening Social Security beneficiaries with loss of their benefits because of Coronavirus-related office closures.
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, issued a warning on March 20, saying Social Security beneficiaries have received letters stating their payments will be suspended or discontinued unless they call a phone number listed in the letter. People who call the number may be scammed into providing personal information or payment via wire transfer, retail gift cards, internet currency, or by mailing cash.
These letters are not from the Social Security Administration, and the agency will not suspend or discontinue benefits because its offices are closed.
Local Social Security Administration offices were closed to the public Tuesday, March 17, because of Coronavirus concerns. However, Social Security employees continue to work, and beneficiaries will still receive benefits.
It’s also important to note that the SSA will never:
- Threaten you with suspended benefits, arrest, or other legal action unless you pay a fine or fee
- Promise a benefit increase or other assistance in exchange for payment
- Require payment by retail gift card, cash, wire transfer, internet currency, or prepaid debit card
- Demand secrecy from you in handling a Social Security-related problem
- Send official letters or reports containing personally identifiable information via email
If you receive a letter, text, call, or email that you believe to be suspicious, do not respond. You can report Social Security scams online at https://oig.ssa.gov.