are cracking down on the uptick of phony social security calls that have
plagued consumers in recent months. Sen. Jeff Merkley, democratic senator for
Oregon, demanded that the Social Security Administration (SSA) and Federal
Trade Commission (FTC) take aggressive steps to protect families from these
In the past
year, 35,000 consumers across the country reported this specific social
security scam phone call. Compare this to a mere 3,200 who reported it in 2017,
illustrating the upward trend of this imposter scam.
The FTC reports that $19 million has been lost to
this scam in the last 12 months. This now surpasses total losses of IRS
impersonation scams of $17 million at its peak year in 2016. The FTC has
declared the social security imposter scam has overtaken the all-too-common IRS
What do these
calls or messages sounds like? A typical call tells you that your social
security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity and that you
should call back to confirm your social security number. Some will request you
withdraw money from your bank account and store it on gift cards for
“safekeeping” since your social security number is now “threatened.” To up the
fear factor, scammers scare consumers into thinking their assets/accounts will
be frozen if they don’t act quickly.
robocalls are especially insidious because of caller ID spoofing, which makes
the call seem like it’s really coming from the Social Security Administration.
Spoofing is a common tactic scammers use to dupe consumers into thinking the
caller is from a legitimate government agency.
requesting that the SSA and FTC share exactly what actions are being taken to
limit robocalls in general and specifically address imposter scams that
impersonate federal agencies.
For tips on how to avoid this scam and what to watch for, head to Better
Business Bureau’s National News landing page.