The Social Security Administration (SSA) is not trying to take your benefits or send you to jail. However, consumers across the United States are receiving threatening robocalls, which sound legitimate enough that many people are falling for the scam.
A social security scam is the most common scam currently reported to the FTC. If you fear to lose your benefits or to get in trouble with the law, you might be at risk for a social security imposter scam. From January 2019 to June 2019 alone, more than 73K SSA scam reports were filed with the FTC.
Are you worried about being one of the consumers scammed? Learn more about social security scams and how to protect your family, neighbors, and yourself!
What Are Social Security Scams and How Do They Work?
Consumers of all ages are receiving Social Security Administration scam calls. However, seniors are most at risk of being victimized and losing money.
This is because senior citizens are often reliant on their benefits, and the idea of losing them or running into legal trouble could be catastrophic. The same is true for those receiving medical disability. The National Council of Aging reports that social security scams as growing and of grave concern.
Just how does it work?
A social security scam begins when you pick up your phone. Although you may also receive fraudulent texts, emails, or other unsolicited communication, a phone call is the most common form of contact.
The phone call may come from a number you don’t recognize, a blocked number, or a spoofed phone number that appears to be from a legitimate source. The scammer may even use the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213) for the spoofed call!
A threatening sounding voice will begin playing and say that you will be given a warrant and will be arrested if you don’t call them back. Or, you may receive a call from a real person (a scammer) who gives you similar warnings. Either way, it is a scam to con you out of money and steal your personal information.
Just how much money is lost?
According to the FTC, from January 2018 through mid-2019, $16.6 million were reported lost. That staggering amount was lost from 3% of the 63K people who reported this type of call, with the median reported loss (per person) being $1,484. Not only are you losing money, but your identity could also be stolen too!
Examples and Types of Social Security Scams
Although there are several popular social security scams, if you do receive a call of this type, immediately hang up the phone and do not press any number they instruct (to hear more or be connected with a scammer). Encourage friends and family to do the same.
Warrant and Jail Time
The robocall will threaten you with a warrant and jail time. The voice-over actor who recorded the message may sound professional and legitimate. However, the SSA will never call you or behave in this manner! You will be asked to pay a fine or a fee, and the scammer will steal this money.
The caller or robocaller will claim that your social security benefits are about to be suspended, and your bank account seized. They will demand immediate payment, possibly by a gift card.
You may receive other types of threats about your family, legal status, benefits, or safety. The scammer will be insistent that you wire money, send them gift card details, or mail cash payment.
Never give out your credit card information, financial account details, or your SSN or driver’s license number to anyone you do not know, via phone or email. If you receive any threats or an unsolicited SSA call, you are dealing with a scammer who can commit identity theft using your information! They can also access your bank account if you hand them over this information and steal your money.
One of our most significant accomplishments is helping consumers protect themselves from scammers and protect their identity. We regularly assist people of all ages who receive Social Security Administration scam calls and help them protect their wallet, and teach them all the different ways to report a scam. Scammers attack whoever is most vulnerable.
They might target seniors and the disabled, knowing much fear of losing the benefits they rely on to survive. Other times, people receive scam calls from foreign catfish who con daters are returning to the dating pool after a painful divorce. Scammers aren’t like you and me. Many live out of the county and have no remorse about stealing from you.
To keep your information safe, your SSA status private, and stand up to scams, perform a Social Catfish search on anyone who calls, emails, or contacts you unexpectedly. You can also search by username and photograph, perfect for checking online connections and dates! Social Catfish is a helpful tool in a complicated digital age!