Doug Sheaffer – Pacific County

If they ask for your account number, hang up

March 8, 2020


By: Doug Sheaffer



The days of a fast-talking guy in a white suit trying to sell us a magic potion that cures neuritis, neuralgia and general funk is pretty much past.  The days of scamming us is ever with us, however. Only the words and methods have changed.

Emails, social media and official looking mail are just some of the ways scammers try to separate us from our money.

We see a lot of this type of activity during Medicare enrollment periods, or when we get close to Social Security age. An email or postcard arrives stating that there are changes in Medicare coming in the new year and we have to be prepared—ASAP!

Sometimes there’s a contact number to call, which can result in someone coming to our home to “help us out”. Though letterheads and/or business cards can look very official, they can also easily be faked.

Years ago, my Mother-in-Law got such a call. She decided to ask me about it and it turned out to be an insurance company trying to scare people into unnecessary plans and thankfully, it was stopped before any harm could be done.

Another effort was “Social Security” contacting people because of some supposed breach or glitch. Once you hear them requesting your SS number, time to hang up, close the door, hit delete—whatever works. One would assume that Social Security would already have our number, yes?

A good general rule is that if anyone wants your account numbers in any form, it’s best to walk away and check to confirm who’s doing the requesting.

Another opportunity for a scammer or identity thief? Census time.

We’re aware that census time is coming soon and so expect to see a lot of information about what to expect, when it occurs and so on. Should you get an email from the census folk, delete and walk away. The US Census notifies us by US Mail (remember them?) and the first contact will most likely be in March. Make sure the return address is from Jeffersonville Indiana, not anywhere else. (That is where the national processing center is located.)

And, as mentioned above, our account numbers are our own. The census folks won’t ask for them, or our Social Security number.  Census workers will have a photo ID badge, a copy of the letter sent to us, and so on. Don’t hesitate to ask to see their ID if there’s any doubt. And, if they “left it at home”, let them know they can come back when they have it.

One last item: If your caller ID states the Census Bureau has called, call the processing center at 800-523-3205 to verify it’s legit.

If it’s going to be a race between scammers and the rest of us, let’s make sure we win.


Information & Assistance

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