BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It’s the call we’ve all been dreading. This year alone hundreds of people have complained about unwanted robocalls constantly interrupting their lives.
Officials with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have released a recording of a popular robocall scam in which offenders pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and try to get your Social Security number or your money. Listen to the audio in the clip below.
The scam consists of SSA impostors calling potential victims to inform them their Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. The victim’s caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call.
In some cases the impostor may say your bank account is about to be seized, but they will tell you what to do to keep it safe. Often times, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving them the codes – which, of course, means that your money will be stolen.
According to the FTC the scam has grown from around 3,200 reports of SSA impostor scams, with victims losing nearly $210,000 in 2017, to 35,000 reports, with victims losing $10 million in 2018.
The FTC encourages people to remember the following information about these scams:
- 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.
If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint