There are no shortage of tricks that scammers use to get access to your personal information, and if someone gets access to your personal information, you might become the victim of identity theft scams!
One particularly effective way they get your information is to call you and ask you questions about topics you they hope you don’t understand. One of these topics is life insurance.
You might be asking, how would a scammer use life insurance to get my information?
I don’t even have life insurance!
It’s not actually the life insurance that they’re after. They’re just going down that road because they know it’s easy to get a payout from the confusing conversation they hope to have with you.
They are hoping you don’t know much about life insurance so that their identity theft scams will work. You see, it’s easier to profit from victims that aren’t completely clear on what an insurance company will and won’t ask for.
But they sound legitimate!
It’s tempting to trust someone over the phone who sounds professional, calm and confident. These identity theft scammers actually write fake telemarketing scripts and practice their scam. Some may have even worked at an insurance company before, so they sound very convincing and know just what to say.
Their 5 Big Lies
These are some of the statements you might hear from expert scammers, and how to tell when they are a lie and an attempt at identity theft. If you receive a call and are presented with the following statements and requests, you know you’re dealing with an identity-theft scam artist.
Lie #1: “Someone you know has passed away, and you are the beneficiary. We just need your social security number for you to claim the money.”
This attempt at identity theft gets the most responses. It would seem natural that you should give them the information to claim the money, but never do it.
The scammer who is calling won’t tell you who bought the life insurance or how much the life insurance money is unless you give them your social security number or even other personal information.
It’s important to know that an insurance company will never call to tell you that you are the beneficiary of a life insurance policy. Telling you is up to the person who purchased the life insurance.
Do not give your social security information over the phone to claim insurance money.
Lie #2: “You have been named as the beneficiary on someone else’s life insurance policy, and we just need your approval and your social security number to confirm.”
This is a complete lie. Insurance companies don’t call beneficiaries to confirm anything. Like the scenario before, it’s up to the person who bought the life insurance to tell you. And you will never need to confirm or approve anything to be a beneficiary. In fact, a person can name you as the beneficiary of their life insurance and never ask or tell you.
That doesn’t make sense though because the reason people buy life insurance is to protect their family financially. Their family can’t be protected it they don’t know there is life insurance!
Do not give your social security information over the phone to confirm you have been named as a beneficiary.
Lie #3: “Your life insurance has been cancelled. We just need your social security number to process and confirm the cancellation.”
Your first reaction here might be to panic. If you’ve had your life insurance policy for some time, being told that it’s suddenly canceled can really catch you off guard. Just know, the insurance company won’t just cancel your policy for no reason.
And if you did actually cancel your policy, your life insurance company would never call you and ask for your social security number to process the cancellation.
If you receive a call like this, stay calm, take a few notes, hang up and call your life insurance company directly, using the phone number on your statement or other official paperwork. Don’t answer any questions regarding your personal information.
Do not give your social security information over the phone to confirm your policy has been cancelled.
Lie #4: “The terms of your policy have been changed. We need to go over the changes with you, so we need your social security number first to confirm your identity.”
You will know this is a scam because the terms of your life insurance policy will never change! The only time something will change is if you decide to make changes yourself, such as buying a new policy.
If you are concerned, just hang up and call your insurance company directly, again, using the phone number on your statement or other official paperwork. They will answer any questions you have.
Do not give your social security information over the phone to confirm your identity.
Lie #5: “Your new life insurance policy is being processed, and we need your social security number and approval for it to go into effect.”
The first sign that this could be a scam is obvious if you didn’t just buy a new life insurance policy!
But if you did just buy a policy, then your life insurance agent would have already had you fill out and confirm all the needed information. If the insurance company does need more information, your agent will contact you directly.
And, if at any time, you are unsure, just call the insurance company yourself. Call the number on your insurance paperwork, not the number the caller gives you.
Do not give your social security information over the phone to give permission of any kind.
Have you noticed a pattern?
These telemarketing scammers all want your social security number. It’s the first step towards identity theft.
An insurance company will not call you directly and:
- Ask for your social security number over the phone.
- Confirm you are a beneficiary on a life insurance policy.
- Change the terms of your policy.
What if you think the request is legitimate?
Maybe you think the call is for real. Now what? Call the insurance company directly.
Ask the caller what insurance company they work for; hang up; then look that company’s phone number up in a phone book (online or traditional) or on your last statement. When you call to verify the company is real, it is still not a good idea to give your social security number out over the phone. Usually companies have other ways to identify you.
Reduce Telemarketing Calls
Make sure to register on the National Do Not Call Registry by calling (888) 382-1222 or going online to their official website. It’s simple and free!
And make sure to file the fraudulent call with the FTC’s telemarketing complaint online form. If the FTC receives many reports about the same telemarketing scam, they can work towards catching the scammers.
Are you already a victim?
The FTC has provided a wonderful, online resource that will arm you with the knowledge you need to know about all different types of phone scams. Just visit their special Phone Scams page. There you will find links to many other great hints, tips and resources to keep yourself scam free.
Asurea offers Life Insurance, Mortgage Protection Life Insurance, Medicare Supplement Insurance, Final Expense Insurance, Disability Insurance, Long-term Care Insurance, Retirement Planning products and more. For additional information, click on the ‘Learn more’ button below. Want to have articles just like this delivered to your inbox? Just enter your email address in the box below and click ‘Subscribe.’
This information is provided for general consumer educational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal, tax or investment advice.