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By Miriam Raftery

May 15, 2019 (Washington D.C.) -- The Federal Trade Commission is warning the public about a surge in phone calls from scammers posing as Social Security agents. The imposters try to con people into providing their Social Security numbers or other personal or financial data.

There are several variations on the scam. Sometimes, callers claim that a recipient’s Social Security account has been suspended, requiring immediate action to reinstate it—including paying a fee. 

Other times the caller warns that a bank account is at risk, and offers to keep it safe if you provide your banking information.

Other times, the scammers will tell seniors that you’re entitled to an increase in your Social Security benefits, if you just verify your name, date of birth and Social Security number --  information that the scammers can then use to redirect your benefit checks to themselves, according to the AARP.

There is also an email version of this scam, in which consumers are asked to click a link to register – ironically – for a free service to protect you from Social Security fraud.  The link is actually a phony government website designed to steal your personal information, Consumer Reports warns.

Don’t fall for these scams – and if you have any questions about your Social Security account or benefits,  look up your local Social Security office to obtain their contact information and then give them a call, to avoid becoming a victim of identity theft.