The increasing frequency of the social security call scams, has caused it to skyrocket into the most common scam in 2019. Scammers gain your trust to try to steal personal information. They do this by posing as legitimate Social Security employees. Since the object is to steal personal information, this scam is affects young and old alike. Let’s take a deeper look at the social security call scam.
What Are Social Security Call Scams
A common scam for years, was the IRS scam. Impostors posing as IRS agents, would call people and scam them for money. Now, it is being replaced with the Social Security Administration (SSA) scams.
It is the same type of scam, but the scammers have switched to posing as SSA employees
And as a result, reports of IRS scams have declined. But, this social security call scam is spreading quickly. The bottom line is they want your personal data to use for Identity Theft later.
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG), has also issued warnings of impersonations of OIG employee’s being staged in phone call scams. These scams start with callers who identify themselves as the Acting Inspector General, Gail Stone. This alone should arouse suspicion. Why would the Attorney General make a personal call?
These scammers claim to be calling you to inform you of suspicions activity on your social security card. They proceed to make up some story about your card being stolen or used by someone. And you are told, this criminal activity will result your card is being revoked or suspended.
A Social Security card is never revoked or suspended over the phone. That process is done through the mail. Normally, the SSA would have alerted you if something was wrong.
The social security call scams have often given the victim a phone number to call to resolve the issue.
But, the number provided goes directly to the scammers. Do not engage with these callers and don’t call the number they provide you.
The Social Security Office Does Not Call You
The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail Ennis, issued an alert in April 2019, about schemes using fake caller-ID methods to scam victims. The OIG had received reports of their hotline number was being displayed on caller ID’s when receiving phone calls.
They warned the public, this was a scam. The Social Security Office or the OIG will not call you from the Fraud Hotline 800 number. If you see such a call, do not answer the call. It is a scam. The only time the Social Security Administration would call you, is to continue a conversation on previous business. They will never just call you out of the blue.
The SSA will never tell you they are going to increase your benefits in exchange for information, or threaten to reduce your benefits. Any call of that nature is a scam. Just hang up!
The many variations of this scheme are simply using the security and trust of the OIG to mislead people.The sole purpose is an attempt to get people to provide personal information or ask for money. By using various reasons and threats, they convince people to wire money or send prepaid debit cards.
No government agency is going to ask you to send fees in the form of gift cards. Unfortunately, the scammers are very convincing. Whenever scams become very popular, it is a clear indication they are working well.
Variations Of The Social Security Call Scams
These guys use different tactics to get your money. They tell you about the criminal activity, then ask you to verify your social security number. This is how people got scammed.
They also use the claim you can withdraw your money from the bank and store it safety on gift cards. In order to do this they need the bank account information. And of course, telling you that you must act quickly. This is a ploy to pressure you into not thinking properly, don’t take these calls. If you do, just hang up!
Often these crooks use robo-calls and ID spoofing to deliver realistic messages. The phone display shows a U.S. government number and the messages are giving realistic instructions.
Such as “Press 1 for help reactivating your social security card.” Or “Press 1 now to speak to a representative.” It is so easy to be fooled. The bad guys are experts at making the scam seem very real!
Once they have your trust, and you believe it is real, they will rob you. Gaining your trust makes it easy. You give them personal data and they clean out your bank account. It is as simple as that.
From IRS Scams To SSA Scams In 2 Years
These scams have exploded this year. It is more important than ever to educate everyone in every possible way to stop these scams from working..
The graph above shows the spike in SSA scams (in orange) this year.You can see the reported scams have skyrocketed this year.In the first two months of this year, over 36,000 reports were filed. Losses totaled over 6.7 million. The average loss was about $1500. This scam is affecting all age groups both young and old.
Notably, the chart reveals clear evidence showing the IRS scams have decreased dramatically. The SSA scams are replacing the IRS scams in an inverse relationship. As the SSA scams increased in popularity, the IRS scams rapidly diminished in frequency. This may indicate the same scammers have switched gears somewhat, exchanging the old IRS scams for the newer SSA attempts.
Payment was not made by any particular payment method, when the scams worked. A variety of different payment methods were used. The key was for the scammer to remain anonymous as possible. To accomplish that, they requested gift card payments, with only the cards pin number being requested.
Other times the payment involved using crypto-currencies. Requiring payment in Bitcoin was a clear favorite of choice. However, for the victims, the method of payment didn’t matter. They lost their money.
The public must be alerted in every way possible to bring an end these scams. The need for articles like this will educate people and bring awareness to the dangers of these scammers. Much more work needs to be done. Here are some tips that I hope will help everyone to keep their guard up.
Tips To Help Avoid Scams
A good defense is better than having to prepare a good offence later. Protect your money!
Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission – FTC
- Always store your Social Security cards in a safe place.
- Never trust caller ID -these can be faked to easily.
- Avoid engaging the caller- Hang up!
- Avoid opening unknown emails and clicking on unknown links.
- Use strong anti-virus software and update it regularly
- Don’t give out an personal information or your Social Security Number.
- Shred documents that contain personal information.
- If you gave you number, visit IdentityTheft.gov/SSA.
- Check with the Social Security Administration – They do not call you. Check and verify with them before sending any money. Call them directly at 1-800-772-1213
- Check credit reports regularly
- Tell others and spread the word. This new version is catching people off guard.
- Report any suspicious activity to the Social Security Fraud Hotline.
- Report SSA/Impostor scams @ FTC.gov/complaint
These scams are becoming more and more common, so be vigilant. Knowing what to do is important to keeping your money safe. It is much easier to avoid the scam in the first place, than trying to get your money back later. Be smart and stay safe! Spread the word among family and friends!
I hope you have enjoyed my article, and learned something. If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below.
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