If you thought you dodged the IRS scam this season, think again! Scammers are no longer disguising themselves as IRS agents but now have a new scheme, impersonating the Social Security Administration.
Contacting unsuspecting citizens across the U.S., or even spoofing numbers to look like the SSA, automated calls claim that due to fraudulent activity, a victim’s social security number will be suspended until the call is returned to verify the account. Scammers will make multiple attempts to catch a victim’s attention, using scare tactics as a final attempt. They threaten the victim that if they do not call back a federal agent will be contacting them.
While some citizens have made a point not to take the calls seriously, the FTC reported that in 2018 over 35,000 citizens reported the scam equating to about $10 million in losses.
“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. (Often, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes – which, of course, means that your money is gone.),” reported the FTC.
To avoid becoming a victim of the Social Security Scam here are a few things to keep in mind:
- If you receive a call about your Social Security being suspended and bank account being seized, it’s a hoax. The SSA will not request that you verify your number over the phone without you expecting their call.
- SSA will never call to put threatening that your benefits are in jeopardy. They will never request you wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards.
- Despite your caller ID identifying a call to be the SSA, be aware that the official SSA number is 1-800-772-1213. If you receive, a call from the SSA or this number but are unsure if you are speaking with an official SSA agent, hang-up immediately and call SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213 to confirm you are speaking with an official SSA agent.
- Never give out your Social Security number, bank account information, or personal identification to unexpected callers.
- If you have been a victim or have received a call similar to the SSA scam, report it to the FTC and FCC to help raise awareness.