Phone Scams Targeting Seniors: The IRS, Social Security and Microsoft

By Stephen J. Silverberg
New York Elder Law Attorney

How often has your caller ID shown you incorrect information in the last week?

If you’re like most of us, your mobile phone or landline’s caller ID has shown what looks like a local phone number, even a regular person’s name –but when you answer the phone, it’s a pre-recorded message warning you not to hang up and warning that the call is about an urgent matter. Or, there’s a pause, you hear a lot of background noise, and then someone gets on the phone and asks for you by name.

Your best bet – hang up. Immediately.

The FTC says there’s yet another phone scam, this one from thieves saying they are from the Social Security Administration. It’s not the Social Security Administration (SSA). Like the IRS (Internal Revenue Service), the SSA does not call.

But here’s how they fool so many people: the phone number on your caller ID shows the SSA’s phone number and it may even say “Social Security.” This is called “spoofing” – the tactic to have another phone number appear on caller ID.

They say they’re from the SSA, ask for a Social Security number, and says they need information to increase your benefit payment, or they’ll terminate your benefits.

Creating fear and confusion is the dominating force in this call, and sadly, it works.

Think about it – if someone was calling you from the SSA, wouldn’t they already have your SS number?

If you get one of these calls, hang up immediately.

If you want to call the SSA, you can dial them toll-free at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

You can also visit the SSA website, at

About the Author
Stephen J. Silverberg is nationally recognized as a leader in the areas of estate planning, estate administration, asset preservation planning, and elder law. He is a past president of the prestigious National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NAELA), and a founding member and past president of the New York State chapter of NAELA.
Posted in SSA