Scammers pretending to be from the Social Security Administration have defrauded thousands of people out of a combined $10 million, according to the Federal Trade Commission.
The FTC said that the scam is growing exponentially. In 2017, the FTC said it heard from 3,200 people about social security imposter scams but towards the end of 2018, the agency said it had heard from over 35,000 people about the scam. Combined, those people have lost $10 million.
Scammers call and say your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or because it’s been involved in a crime, according to the FTC. The agency released a recording of what the call sounds like.
The caller ID also shows the SSA’s actual number but the FTC says it’s being faked.
Here are some tips from the FTC on the scam:
- 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.
By Feroze Dhanoa, Patch National Staff |