The Inspector General for the Social Security Administration has issued a warning to the public to be aware of identity thieves who are stealing personal information from Social Security recipients and then setting up a “My Social Security Account” in the name of the identity theft victim online at the website of the Social Security Administration. The identity thief then uses the account to redirect the identity theft victim’s Social Security check to a bank account controlled by the identity thief. If you have personally not set up a My Social Security Account online and you receive information from the Social Security Administration that such an account has been opened in your name, this is a red flag that you have become a victim of identity theft.
If you have not yet set up a My Social Security Account online with the Social Security Administration and you are receiving Social Security benefits, I urge you to do so. This will not only protect you from an identity thief setting up an account in your name, but will also provide you with quick access to much information and services related to Social Security. You should also guard the privacy of your Social Security number. Once an identity thief has this information, it is an easy task to make you a victim of identity theft. Never give your Social Security number to anyone on the phone or in response to an email because you can never be sure who you are talking to when a caller requests your Social Security number or when you receive an email. If the call or email appears to be legitimate, you should confirm that it is by calling or emailing the real entity at a telephone number or email address that you know is accurate. If you have a question about someone purporting to be from the Social Security Administration you should contact Social Security’s customer service at 800-772-1213.