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This is what a Social Security scam sounds like

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Earlier this month, we told you about a growing scam: people pretend to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and try to get your Social Security number or your money. That scam is now growing exponentially. To compare: in 2017, we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us 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.)

Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

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. 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.

Tagged with: imposter, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Thank you for your constant informing us of these leeches who do nothing but prey on the vulnerable. I always pass on these alerts to my friends.

Listening to the recording, it's a big joke that they would be telling you that your info has been compromised so-to-speak and then come off with a threat of having you arrested (I had to LOL)

Thank you.

Got a call that I won but will call me back with details. Private number called that I had won 4.5 million dollars check from Bank of America with"GOLD SEAL" from FTC along with a 2019 Mercedes new vehicle also having clear title. "Mr"Marks" asked if I could purchase of 2 gift cards @$350 each. The number Mark first called me on was 775-773-5989. Letting me know I have won a prize. I am disabled and age 62 was not extra in my budget. Help! I had bad experiences with thieves. And this feels no different. The $700 I really don't have nor any room for $700 payout.

WOW … Thanks for including that recording. It sounds so intimidating, I would have gotten nerves and probably have thought I should call? I was able to recognize the difference, once I heard it.

Thank you.

I got this back in November: You are receiving this prerecorded message to notify you that your social will be suspended due to illegal activity. It's very important that I hear back from you in a timely manner before we can proceed further with the status of your social and assets. My direct call back number is 213-618-3453.
So just for laughs I called the number back using a totally different phone and I get we're sorry your call did not go through..
If these people would put the effort in working at a real job imagine how nice the world would be instead of preying on other peoples fears.

Today 12/2/19 I received a call from (512) 089-2335 it was a recorded message notifying me that my social security account was suspended please press 1. I hanged up then I checked my account online everything was fine with my account but I changed my password anyway. Then I block that phone number.

I received 3 calls today all saying that my Social Security number has been compromised due to fraudulent activity and there is a warrant out for my arrest - I called each number back and no VM or person to answer - the second time I just picked up and stayed silent. Pathetic - calls like this make me angry mostly because of tells innocent people that fall victim to these criminals. Thankfully it’s happened before so I quickly block and report online...

The numbers that called me at 12pm, 1pm and 2pm EST

‭(512) 629-2198‬
(512) 429-2847‬
‭(512) 818-3741‬

Thank you, I did receive one automated call from one of the low life an blocked he number.

It is really frustrating how they spool numbers. It makes it hard to report to the FTC as they want the real numbers the call came from. I have tried to report scams in the past, but cannot without the actual phone number.

When you report a call at www.FTC.gov/Complaint, you can report the spoofed number that a scammer used. That information is helpful too.

From Maryland # 240-288-5442

They also try to spoof the social security number. They were a number off though. I already reported it.

I wonder why there are not controls put in place to divert or prevent fictitious calls like this.

It's impossible to do with the current underlying technology of the phone network. There have to be foundational, structural changes made to it if we want to do this. That's not going to happen overnight, not even close.

Thank you for this very important information. They are getting so creative now as I was just scammed and will be filing a complaint with your office tomorrow. People think that it can not happen to them but I read everything you send and it happened to me but I caught it in time to cancel my credit cards.

Did you get all of your money back?

To : FTC Manager: from Ali Erdogan I informed and confirmed my ID and I m a customer my prizes safe and save under security Mega Millions ,powerball known my situtions term and conditions . if some one try to cheating FBI going to fınd easly.
only I have trouble biggest amount and I try to get visa for to go America USA Consulates didn't accept , I m really autorised I own lottery Money I sent my douments to CA State official Government Lottery Manager I don't Understand REGİSTERED LETTER must send reply . why they d 't want they try to finish date but I sent on time in dateline that means growing my prizes also lottery going to pay interest if I will find lawyer lotteries shuld pay also for lawyer thank you very much for your kindly services

what do you do when the real Social Security In Waukegan, Il is scamming you (bias activities against men of American Heritage)

Thanks for keeping the public updated on these lowlifes. I haven’t received a Social Security call yet but have gotten voice mail messages from the “IRS.”

Received aprox. same message. Hit retail. Female answered. Advised that they just called me. Asked for name and ssn. I advised she must already have that information, they just called me. She said they have to verify. Asked what office she was calling from. I told I recently retired from SSA and wondered if we might know some of the same people. She hung up on me. How rude.

The phone companies can stop these calls but they have no incentive to do so. They make money off the callers and off us when we sign up for their call blocking.

No, that's the thing. They really can't without also stopping a whole lot of legitimate calls.

The gov should change all ss # or change the system

The tone of the speaker sounds like someone using a speech assist tool like one a person with a stoma would use or someone trying to disguise their real voice. Kinda dead giveaway, this tool is a scamming ghoul, and is about as real as the voice in it.

You did not mention that SSA or IRS will never telephone you. They will always contact you by sending a letter, so always hang up on phone calls.

They did call my home and left a name and phone number with an extension. I returned the call and the recording asked for my name and SS#. When I call back to prove to my wife this is what it said on the recording the person answered. He started asking questions and when in became more personal and direct about income I became defensive. I did not give him any more info and called him a fraud trying to scam me. At that time he said he would have to reject my application for medicare. This person is a worker for the SSA. I checked his name & phone number through our local office. I don't know what to believe anymore. I am told I can't deal with anyone else because my account is assigned to him. I have called him three times and he has not returned my calls.

Thank you so much for telling me that. I get a lot of calls and have paid out hundreds of dollars before on those calls due to being told I would still be arrested because the fradulant activity was still in my name and that it carried a sentence of up to two years. I’ve never been to jail and thought simply horrifies me. Therefore I asked no one for help and paid out the money. My husband was so mad at me that I didn’t talk to him about it first. I simply panicked and just paid it. Never again will I make such a mistake. Thanks so much for sharing.

I received three calls in about 1.5 hours on 12/21/18, allegedly from "Ofcr. Gary Cole" of the SSA claiming there were issues with my SSN being used fraudulently. I guess since I did not call him back after the third call, they gave up. Phone number calling from was 218-366-3263.

If the scammers are providing a call-back number, why can't the FTC or FCC track them down through the phone companies? Or I suppose my question should be, why don't they?

Agreed! I bet those lazy scammers are reading this too so they can use other tactics!
I had My own number calling me, I freaked out, called provider (may be an inside job too).

The guy with the Middle East accent called me several times, I told him off with some words I cannot use here, but haven't heard from him since, evidently he realized I couldn't be scammed. Sad world we live in when people can just steal money from those who think these people are legit. A letter should be sent out to every person in the U.S. listing all the scams that are out there, especially to the elderly.

I Agree That Letters should be sent out a to everycall USA Citizens with a list of all the Scammers names, numbers and addresses they use to fool peoples money and information.

Scammers don't give their own names, numbers or addresses, and any such list would just let the smarter ones be clear they aren't one of those.

Smart avoidance of scams is knowing that anyone calling you to ask for your SS# doesn't know it to verify. Ask them for the last 4 digits. They won't know, or they'll make up excuses.

Smart avoidance is knowing the SSA has absolutely nothing to do with your bank accounts and credit cards.

In fact, banks won't CALL YOU and ask for information. Suspected fraud will know that info and be calling to determine if you made the charges - not asking you to confirm the card # or a full SS#. They'll know your full name as it is on the card. ASK, don't ANSWER, if they call you.

Thanks for informing us about the scams. I they don't leave a number I don't call back. If I don't recognize the number I don't answer. They get blocked. I don't know how many scammers have called me and they get blocked. I have more blocks than I docontacts. That is ashame

This happened to me; the took my information then said they would work on my behalf to get my SSD funds started. Once I gave them the information (yeah I know now , not smart) the told me I was immediately declined and refuses to speak with me. The number was wrong too. I don’t want them to receive my disability pay, what do I do now.

Is the Dept of Health and Human Services having an older appearing man using Facebook to tell people they can "receive a check for $125,000? A "friend" and I'm suspicious "she" is not what she appears to be, is attempting to get me to also get the $125,000. I find that to be rather odd! I cannot find anything online about it.

I am experiencing when I use my personal information I am told that nothing comes up and that's scary as well as weird. I cannot be verified by a replicable bank using my social security number given at birth, birth date. and name. So I have to make a report with the FTC identity fraud service and guess what? the government is shut down today, isn't that wonderful.

I received this call over the summer, and was told that my identity had been stolen, and someone in Texas was using my SSN to rent apartments and vehicles. The man on the phone was accusing me of being the identity thief and asked me to verify my current debts. He never asked me to verify my SSN, but simply to verify that I knew what was reporting on my credit. After a while I discovered the man was not from the social security administration when I asked him for a return phone call and a case number so that I could be in contact with my lawyer before I gave him any information. He refused to give me the information, and I hung up on him. These people are very convincing.. be careful.

Got two calls, one two weeks and one today. Said my Social Security was being suspendes due to money laundering and drug trafficing. First time I called the police and social security, there was no warrent for my arrest and no suspension on my Social Security. First time they called the caller ID was 1(469)200-4335. Today their caller ID was the actual Social Security phone number. I called the FBI, spoke to some lady who routed me over to Internet fraud. I guess you can't report phone scammers. Can't report to this FTC.GOV either because they have closed down due to cutbacks.

"...and get you arrested..." Hilarious!

that was two of calls

A big tip off is the use of odd language or phrases. In the recording included in this article, the words “get you arrested” are used. What official would use those words?

This message from a different scam was left on my voice mail (the first words were cut off), “affairs intending your serious attention your case number is C9621 ignoring this message will be an additional second attempt to avoid initial appearance before a magistrate judge _⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_⁠_ jury for a federal criminal offense my number is 206-620-2607 I repeat it's 206-620-2607 do not disregard this message and do return the call now if you don't return the call and I don't hear from your attorney either then the only thing I can do is wish you a good luck as the situation unfolds on you goodbye…” This one had me laughing because the language is so out of the norm.

The REAL tip off is just the basic premise of the call. I don't care if they word it properly or not, NO OFFICIAL AGENCY is going to call you and threaten arrest if you don't call them back. Ever.

I just received the same language left on my voice mail by a # 1-855-527-8817 telling me to call back this number 1-855-278-8817.

Last year I got two of those scam calls that if I dont call them back right away I will be arrested and put in jail. I gave the phone Numbers to my accountant. Also another call is about Microsoft a out my computer needs,to be repaired. It was from the same voice who left the IRS social security calls. I knew it a scam. Isnt there anything the FTC can do to catch these criminals and put them in jail where they belong.

Year ago my brother's girlfriend stole my Ipad with all my personal information, pictures, stayed in my pocketbooks, sneak in my accounts. Was in all my devices, I moved out, didn't look back.

Two Alerts: one: asking for your social Security number and two: you will be arrested if there is refusual of
compliance.
After receiving one of these calls I called my son who was able to verify that it was a scammer number.

I got a call with caller ID saying it was ATT. They said they were offering a special promo. In order to receive the promo you had to pre pay 6 months in advance using amazon gift cards and your rate would be guaranteed to 2 years. If you called the number to confirm it will sound like ATT then the SAME guy answers the phone. The email address is ATTpromo @
I called att to tell them. They didn’t seem to care. It seemed very legit until they wanted prepayment using gift cards. Just be careful.

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