17 Jun Social Security Phone Number Scams
Written by Christian Xitas – June 14th, 2019
A phone scam involving social security numbers, that has been around for the last couple of years, has returned. Scam calls usually inform you that your Social Security Number (SSN) has been suspended. Usually, because of suspicious activity or it’s been involved in a crime. This scam is sometimes executed via robocall, the recording provides a number for you to call to remedy the problem. Sometimes, the scammer wants their target to confirm their SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, they’ll say the target’s bank account is about to be seized.
To keep their money safe, the target is told withdraw it. After, buy gift cards and then call back so the codes on the back of the cards can be recorded. Once those codes are turned over, however, the scammer has access to all the funds on the cards. Another thing to consider is the target’s caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call. However, they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling!
The scam, which the Internal Revenue Service has called the ” SSN hustle,” is just one of many scams aiming to scare victims into providing personal information. People all over the county, including Columbia County Sheriff Brian Pixley, have reported receiving these calls in the last month. “Anytime someone receives a phone call from someone asking for specific information (SSN , DOB, bank account info, etc), they should always refuse to give the number and instead call the institution or governmental agency directly and ask if the call was valid,” Sheriff Pixley explained.
The Social Security Administration can be reached at 1-800-772-1213. “The biggest signs of a fraud is someone asking for personal information over the phone. Such as asking for money or advertising the person won some large sum of money. Then prior to receiving the prize, they have to pay a specific amount of money,” Pixley wrote in an email to the Spotlight. Scam artists can make phone calls appear to originate from different numbers. Therefore, caller ID can’t always be trusted.
Older adults are often targeted by scammers. With phone books now available online, it’s easier than ever for scammers to find phone numbers, full names, and addresses, Klem explained. The DOJ’s campaign encouraging people to hang up the phone on suspicious calls “is really aimed at older adults,” Klem said. “They always answer the phone. “This particular scam has been growing in popularity since last year, said Ellen Klem, director of consumer outreach and education for the state’s Office of the Attorney General. Scams often garner more public attention as they go on, and increased awareness can help protect community members.
But without receiving complaints from consumers, agencies may not be aware that scams are going on. “If the call is fraudulent or if the victim believes it to be fraudulent, I would ask them to write the phone number down as well as any names given and report it to law enforcement,” Pixley wrote. You can also report scams to the DOJ online or by calling 1-877-877-9392.
Ways To Avoid Scams:
- Except in rare circumstances, you will not get an unexpected call from Social Security. Unless you have already been in contact with the agency.
- Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
- SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
- The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls. Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.
- Claims there is an emergency requiring immediate action
- Asks for personal or financial information
- Instructs you to not tell family or friends
- Simply sounds too good to be true.
WHAT TO DO
If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC. The FTC said that scam took in $17 million in its peak year. This Social Security call scam is already up to $19 million for the year ending March 31, according to CBS News. The best advice for what to do when someone calls from out of the blue with Social Security is to hang up. If you ever have questions about Social Security feel free to contact Victory Disability at [email protected]