Bartlett professionals have been made aware of an increase in fraudulent telephone activity designed to pressure or intimidate individuals into giving up personal information like social security numbers, banking account numbers, and other information.
Recent reports have suggested that unknown callers are increasingly using threatening language in calls to potential victims, suggesting improper or illegal activity with your Social Security Number (SSN) or your account will lead to an arrest or other legal action if you do not call them to address the issue. Individuals should recognize that this is a scam and they should not engage with these calls or provide any personal information.
It is important to know what to look out for if you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) — or any legitimate-sounding government organization — in order to keep you, your financial information, and your assets safe. Generally speaking, SSA and IRS employees can contact you via phone if you have ongoing business with the organization. However, they would never threaten you to give them information, including telling you that you face potential arrest or legal action if you fail to provide them information.
If you receive a call like this, we encourage you to hang up and report suspicious calls to the SSA’s Office of Inspector General at 1-800-263-0271 or submit a report online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
These fake calls are just one of many threats that we’re seeing more frequently, as cyber criminals become increasingly more sophisticated. Email is another popular avenue for fraudulent activity, and the same advice applies if you receive an email from a personal friend or professional contact that seems a little “off.” Do not click any links or respond to such emails, especially if they contain questions of a financial nature or ask you to input any personal, financial, or account-related information — and contact your Bartlett advisor right away.
It’s our job at Bartlett to focus on the protection of our clients’ assets, privacy, and security, and our team takes it seriously. To respond to these and other emerging cybersecurity threats, we’ve created a new Cybersecurity Education website where you can view videos, read security audits, and explore other information on how to spot and avoid cyber theft or scams.
As always, contact your Bartlett financial advisor or call our office at (513) 621-4612 to speak to a cybersecurity professional if you spot what you think might be a fraudulent call or email, or if you have any questions related to information security.