Don't Make My Mistakes

by Elisa Busch

A few months ago, I received a form from Social Security asking me questions to review my current job situation, etc. I have gotten forms like this in the past, but due to circumstances beyond my control, I could not fill this one out in the time permitted. Consequently, the same form was mailed to me again -- this time with a warning, stating that my SSDI payments may be curtailed if I do not reply. I anxiously filled out the form.
A few days later, I called the Social Security office asking if they received my letter. In fact, I called an 800 number and a local office as well. Both of them checked my records and said they had never sent such a letter to me at all.
Two of my computers suffered from viruses or spyware problems and I did not get them fixed. Phone calls disrupted our peaceful home, some of them stating they were from our former bank. When we answered the calls, there was no answer. This occurred so frequently that I am preparing to change my number and make it an unlisted one. I have also filed a police report with some of the phony numbers used to con me, put fraud alerts on my bank and credit cards, transferred my SSDI payments to a different account, and called the attorney general's office to report the incidents. I will call Social Security to obtain a statement of my earnings, the IRS to report that my Social Security may have been stolen and check my credit reports within the next couple of months. Social Security would not change my number, which aggravates me, but I may try a different tactic for identification with my financial institutions.
From now on, any correspondence I receive, either from Social Security or any other organization dealing with my financial life, will be double-checked to make sure of its authenticity. I hope you will do the same and be cautious with any phone calls or e-mails you receive.