Opinion: AMAC warns of more Social Security phone scams

by | May 23, 2019 | Opinion

Robocall Social Security Administration scams are on the rise. The Federal Trade Commission [FTC] says SSA telephone shakedowns specifically targeting senior citizens now surpass phony IRS calls, according to the Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC].

For the past few years fake IRS calls topped the list of complaints received by the FTC. “But the new SSA scam is trending in the same direction – with a vengeance. People filed over 76,000 reports about Social Security imposters in the past 12 months, with reported losses of $19 million,” according to the FTC.

AMAC president Dan Weber notes that at its peak, between October 2015 and September 2016, losses from IRS scams reached $17 million. Meanwhile, in just two months, February and March of this year, the FTC received some 36,000 complaints from individuals who received Social Security calls. And, $6.7 million in reported losses were logged.

Weber says that “these con men are ‘phishing’ for Social Security numbers that can be used to commit all kinds of online crime. They can use stolen SS accounts to take out loans in your name, leaving you holding the bag. In addition, while they are at it, they often try to extort money from you. Meanwhile, the solution is quite simple– just hang up.”

In addition, AMAC advises that if you get such a phone call don’t fall for the scam even if your caller ID shows that the Social Security Administration is calling you. The SSA does not make threats. In fact, you should never give out your SS number, your bank account number or any such sensitive personal information to anyone who calls you out of the blue– especially if the voice on the other end of the line is a recording.

Dan Weber also recommends that you simply hang up on such callers and then call the SSA at 1-800-772-1213 to report the incident. He says the Social Security Administration has issued a procedure notification for those who might receive scam calls, which can be accessed on the Internet at this address [https://www.identitytheft.gov/SSA].

“Robocall scams are fast becoming the methodology of choice for tech-savvy crooks. And, while we are each responsible for protecting ourselves from these criminals, the government has a responsibility, too. To that end, there is legislation in Congress that seeks to address robocall stings.”

By Dan Weber, president of the Association of Mature Citizens.

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