The Social Security Scam has been around awhile now and became more prevalent when consumers were not falling for the IRS calling them. There are several ways a scammer can try and get you with this scam, including:
How the Scam Works
You answer the phone (or listen to a voicemail message) from someone alleging to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) or another government entity. The name on your caller ID may even back up that claim. The caller says your social security number has been used to fraudulently apply for a credit card or commit another crime. To fix the situation, the caller needs you to confirm your SSN and other personal information. If you don’t cooperate, the caller threatens to take you to court or have your Social Security number blocked or revoked.
New Twist: Scammers are using real live phone numbers for this scam and even your BBB is not immune from encountering this situation. A BBB associate listened to a voicemail left on their phone that they better not cancel this person’s social security number and they had better call back or they were going to get their lawyer involved. When the associate, not realizing exactly what the call was referring to and not knowing the person, returned their call, the person was very upset and would not listen when the associate finally realized that their phone number was used to try and scam them. There was no consoling or calming down the person and after threatening her not only with his lawyer but also the sheriff’s department, the person hung up on her.
No matter the details, the stories are designed to induce fear and, obviously, anger which happened in this situation. Scammers hope that under pressure you will tell them your SSN and other sensitive personal information. Scammers can use SSNs to commit identity theft and file tax returns in your name to steal your refund.
How to Avoid the Scam
· Never give personal information to unsolicited callers. If someone contacts you without your permission, refuse to tell them any personal information.
· Remember, the SSA will never call you asking for your Social Security number. They will never ask you to pay anything, nor will they threaten your benefits.
· Don’t trust your caller ID. The internet has made it possible for scammers to use fake IDs when they call your home. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.
• DO NOT CALL THE NUMBER BACK: If you answer the call or call the number on your caller ID, you could be telling the scammer it is a working number OR, as in this case, you could be calling an innocent person who may have nothing to do with the call you received.
· Contact the Social Security Administration: If you are concerned about a call you received from someone who claims to be with the SSA, you can call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
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