Your Social Security number can be used for identity theft or worse. Social Security scams are more common than you think. We’ve outlined the main ones here so that you know how to identify one immediately.

Scam 1: A person claiming to be an SSA (Social Security Administration) employee calls you and tells you that criminal activity has been spotted on your Social Security number. He tells you that the number has been blocked and asks you to confirm your number to reactivate it or reissue one. They may ask to do this for a fee.

Scam 2: A recorded message provides a number for you to call to remedy the problem of criminal activity on your Social Security number.

Scam 3: A caller posing as an SSA employee tells you that your bank account is at risk due to criminal activity on your social security number.

Scam 4: A caller has good news! He claims that there has been a cost-of-living increase in your benefits and asks you to verify your name and Social Security number. The caller then hijacks your account and diverts your benefits.

Scam 5: You receive an email that looks like it’s from the SSA. The email instructs you to click a link that provides a service that helps protect you from Social Security fraud. This is a phishing scam that leads you to a fake government website that steals your personal information.

Other things to look out for

Unsolicited calls from people claiming to work for SSA. The SSA rarely contacts anybody out of the blue.

Calls that ask for your Social Security number. SSA employees would never do this.

Any kind of communication that threatens arrest or a suspension of your Social Security number or requests a payment.

Stay vigilant and hang up the phone if you receive a call or email like the ones described here. Another option is to install a robocall blocking app on your phone.