December 27, 2018, Jennifer Leach, Division of Consumer and Business Education, FTC
Con artists have been making calls pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) to try to get your Social Security number or your money for awhile. This scam is now growing exponentially. In 2017, 3,200 people reported SSA imposter scams, reportedly losing nearly $210,000. In 2018 more than 35,000 people reported the scam, and they’ve lost $10 million.
Here’s what one of those scam calls sound like:
Scammers are saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. 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.)
Here’s what to know:
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.
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.
The production of this flyer was supported by Grant # 90MPPG0005-01-00 from the Administration for Community Living (ACL). Its contents are solely the responsibility of Pro Seniors and do not necessarily represent the official views of ACL.