scam alert

Andrew Saul, commissioner of Social Security, is warning those who receive Social Security benefits to be aware of scammers contacting them and claiming their payments will stop because of the coronavirus.

“That is not true,” Saul said in a press release. “Don’t be fooled.”

Saul said those who get benefits will continue to receive them during the pandemic.

If there is a problem, we will mail you a letter with your Social Security number. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us, the Social Security Administration said on its website.

The administration said scams have been on the rise involving robocalls or live callers pretending to be government employees and claiming there is identity theft or other problems with someone’s Social Security number, account, or benefits.

The scammers may threaten arrest or other legal action, or may offer to increase benefits, protect assets, or resolve identity theft. They often demand payment via retail gift cards, wire transfers, pre-paid debit cards, internet currency or cash payments through the mailing.

Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money, according to the Social Security Administration’s website.

Saul said visitors are not allowed in Social Security offices at this time because of the pandemic. However, during the office closures, people may inquire about services online at socialsecurity.gov or by calling 1-800-772-1213.

The administration said to go to its COVID-19 web page at socialsecurity.gov/coronavirus/ to find out which services are continuing and which ones are being suspended. The website also has information about how to contact Social Security offices and deadlines that are being extended to ease the burden on beneficiaries and medical providers during this pandemic.

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