January 2 2019

Social Security Phone Scam Netted $10 Million in 2018 and it's Growing


A growing scam is targeting residents and the Federal Trade Commission is trying to fight back.


The scam features people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration who are trying to trick people into giving up their Social Security number or their money.


“That scam is now growing exponentially,” the FTC said in a scam warning. “To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far this year (2018): more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us they’ve lost $10 million.

In the scam, the culprits say your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he’ll say your bank account is about to be seized but he’ll tell you what to do to keep it safe, and that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes. If you do this your money will be gone.

As a further way of tricking people the scammers often spoof the caller ID so it shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call.  

Here's what to know:

- 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.



If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.


You can listen to what one of these scam phone calls on the FTC's website by clicking here.


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