the staff of the Ridgewood blog
Ridgewood NJ, we have mentioned this in the past but it bears repeating, for scammers, your Social Security number is a gold-plated and diamond-encrusted asset, and now they have a new way to try to steal yours and get paid.
Consumer advocates are raising an alarms about a twist to an old impostor phone scam. It’s called the “Social Security impostor scam.” A blog at the Federal Trade Commission recently wrote: “In the shady world of government, the SSA scam may be the new IRS scam.”
Here’s how it works:
You get a call with a warning that your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or because it’s been used in a crime. You are asked to confirm you number or told you need to withdraw money from the bank and buy gift cards.
The phone call may be a robocaller with a message to “press 1” to speak with a “support representative” from the government to reactivate your Social Security number. The scammers use technology to spoof your Caller ID to make it look like the Social Security Administration is really calling.
In the last 12 months, people filed more than 76,000 complaints about Social Security impostors, reporting $19 million in losses. The median reported loss last year was $1,500, the FTC said.
People are asked to give up the personal identification numbers (PINs) on the back of gift cards or use virtual currencies like Bitcoin to pay. (According to the FTC’s consumer alert, people withdrew money and fed cash into Bitcoin automatic teller machines.)
According to Fraud.org and the FTC, here are some important things to remember:
Don’t trust your phone’s caller ID. Scammers can make it look as if the Social Security Administration is calling and even use the agency’s real number.
Don’t give your Social Security number, other personal information, to a caller on the phone.
Social Security will never suspend your number, according to Fraud.org. If anyone tells you something different, you’re being scammed.
Social Security will never call you and demand money. No government agency will demand you pay something using gift cards or Bitcoin either.
If you have a question, check with the real Social Security Administration. The administration will never contact you out of the blue. The agency’s number is 1-800-772-1213.
Talk about the scam with friends, family and neighbors. Report government impostor scams to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint.