I just got a phone call from one of my clients. She was a bit shaken as she told me about a call that she had just received. Caller ID indicated that the Social Security Administration was calling. It was a recording telling her that there was some suspicious activity associated with her Social Security number and that the number had been suspended. She was told to respond immediately. The caller was asking her to confirm the number. Thankfully, she hung up, and called me immediately.
I knew that it was a scam, but I didn't know how prevalent it is. I did some research via Google. According to the FTC, more than 35,000 people reported the scam to them in 2018. Here's what the FTC has to say about the scam: This is what a Social Security scam sounds like. There is even a recording of one such call.
Apparently, in addition to obtaining your Social Security number, scammers often advise you to drain your bank accounts before you account is frozen and use that money to purchase gift cards to hold your funds. Next, they ask you to provide them with the pin numbers on the cards. If you fall for this, say good-bye to your money. It's gone.
The FTC said that most consumers don't fall for the scam. But they do worry that someone has their social security number.
Here's what you should know:
- Never give out your Social Security number over the phone.
- Don't trust Caller Id. Scammers can make your Caller Id show the name and number of the SSA.
- Social Security is never going to call you and threaten to suspend your Social Security number.
- They won't ask you to wire funds.
- It is always a scam if you are being asked to buy gift cards.