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March 6, 2024 General Interest

#SlamTheScam 2024 with the Social Security Administration

National “Slam the Scam” Day is designated by Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General to raise awareness of government imposter scams, which continue to spread across the United States. Slam the Scam Day is Thursday, March 7, 2024, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, which takes place this year from March 3-9. More resources are available here.

What is a government imposter scam? This is when scammers do just that, impersonate the government. You may get a call, email, or text message saying they are from the Social Security Administration and your benefits will end unless you pay. Or they say they are from the IRS and you owe taxes. Or they say you need to give your Medicare number to get a new card. These are all scams! Government agencies will not call, email, or text you and ask for money or personal information. Only scammers do that. So, what should you do? Slam the Scam!

The scammers may also say there is a problem with your account or promise a prize if you provide them with the requested information. Again, Slam the Scam! And tell your friends and family members to do the same! For more information about Social Security scam calls, visit Social Security-Related Scams.

Every time the phone rings, you wonder if it’s an actual call you want to answer or if it’s a scam of some sort. Even with caller ID, we can’t be sure that the name that shows up is the person that is calling. Thanks to phone number spoofing you can no longer believe what your caller id is telling you all the time.  Phone number spoofing causes your caller id to display a phone number or name that may look like it is a local call but in fact it can be coming from outside the state or even the country.  Spoofing is usually done with mischievous or dishonest intentions by the caller. Be careful and maybe let phone calls go to voicemail so that, if a message is left, you can determine whether you want to call the person back.

The Wisconsin Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) is hearing from Medicare beneficiaries about caller ID phone calls from local clinics or even the Wisconsin Health Department, requesting private information. Looking into these cases by contacting clinics and the state health department, we can safely say these are scam calls. The scammers are using technology to spoof names and numbers that you may be more likely to answer. In these cases, the callers are looking for Medicare numbers.

As a friendly reminder, it is very important that you protect your personal information, including your Social Security number, Medicare number, bank account information or credit card information. Be skeptical of anyone who calls you out of the blue and requests personal information and Slam the Scam! And remember that government agencies will not contact you to ask for money or personal information. If you initiated a phone call to a government agency and they were not able to answer your request immediately, they will likely call you back to resolve the question or concern. The government agency will provide you with information about what that return call will sound like, or they will leave a message with detailed instructions for you to follow to reach them.

Help us “Slam the Scam”! And please don’t hesitate to reach out to the SMP on our toll-free Helpline, (888) 818-2611 to report concerns or to learn more.