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Ely, Counselor at Law
Category: Legal
Satisfied Customers: 102601
Experience:  Private practice with focus on family, criminal, PI, consumer protection, and business consultation.
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My mom got a call from her social security office as she is

Customer Question

My mom got a call from her social security office as she is receiving benefits. They told her that they are monitoring her phone and can hear who she is talking to and sending messages. I pay the bill to her phone. Is that legal?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Legal
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Hello and welcome to JustAnswer. Please note:
(A) This is general information and is not legal advice. No specific course of action is proposed herein. No attorney-client relationship or privilege is formed by speaking to an expert on this site. This is repeated in numerous disclaimers throughout the site. By continuing, you confirm that you understand and agree to these terms; and (B) there may be a slight delay between your follow ups and my reply while I am typing out my answer.
I am sorry to hear about this situation. Can you please tell me:
1) Why did they call? What was the purpose of the call?
2) Did they ask for any personal information over the telephone? Such as, to "verify identity?"
This is not an answer, but an Information Request. I need this information to answer your question. Please reply, so I can answer your question. Thank you in advance.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
The phone call was about why my dad isn't working. He has been out of a job since last December. He is 53 years old with medical issues and has not been called for work and to warn us that they will be coming one early morning to check up on him. My parents are also in the process of a divorce so there is no communication between them. He does come home but just to sleep. This is my apartment as well. The name on the lease is under my name.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
They did ask her to verify identity.
Expert:  Ely replied 2 years ago.
Thank you.
1) It would be unusual for SSA to call in the first place. I am tempted to say that this may have been a scammer attempting to verify/gain personal information - see here. She may wish to go down to the local SSA office to confirm that someone indeed called her, because this may have been a scammer.
2) Even if this was a real telephone call, the SSA does not have the ability to listen in on people's telephone calls without a warrant, nor would they be doing so unless there was major fraud suspected. In addition if they were, they would not be telling the target this. Such a ridiculous claim only pushes me more to believe that this may have been a scammer. But in any case, I highly, highly doubt that the SSA is listening in. They do not do this.
3) If this was a scammer, they may have gotten her to give her DOB and SSN over the telephone. If so, I would recommend either a security credit freeze (here), or at least a fraud alert (here), to ensure that no one can use her without permission.
I hope this helps and clarifies. Gentle Reminder: Use the SEND or REPLY button to keep chatting, or please rate when finished. You may always ask follow ups at no charge after rating. Kindly rate my answer as one of the top three faces/stars and then SUBMIT, as this is how I get credit for my time with you. Rating my answer the bottom two faces/stars or failing to submit the rating does not give me credit and reflects poorly on me, even if my answer is correct. I work very hard to formulate an informative and honest answer for you; please reciprocate my good faith.