CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) put out a warning about a scam going around, that tried to get my social security number.
Sitting at my desk on Monday my cell phone rang with a call from Los Molinos, California.
Odd because I don’t know anyone from Los Molinos, so I didn’t answer.
By the way, Los Molinos is a tiny town in the middle of nowhere northern California with a population of just 2,000 people.
Two calls, from the same number, came in within five minutes of each other and both times they left a voicemail.
“This is Deputy Commissioner Linda Cooper from Social Security Administration,” a computerized female voice with a British accent said.
“This is in reference to suspend your existing social security number on an immediate basis if your social has been suspected in illegal activity then.”
With broken English the recording said I needed to call them back right away.
I did my research and found there is no Linda Cooper who works for the Social Security Administration.
Secondly, according to a report from the FTC, your social security number (SSN) will never be suspended.
“The FTC has gotten reports about scammers trying to trick people out of their personal information by telling them that they need to ‘reactivate’ their supposedly ‘suspended’ SSNs,” the report said.
“The scammers say the SSN was suspended because of some connection to fraud or other criminal activity. They say to call a number to clear it up – where they’ll ask you for personal information.”
What the scammers hope is that you will call back, and someone will request your SSN for verification.
“Thing is, Social Security numbers do not get suspended,” the FTC report said.
“This is just a variation of a government imposter scam that’s after your SSN, bank account number, or other personal information. In this variation of the scheme, the caller pretends to be protecting you from a scam while he’s trying to lure you into one.”
The scary things is this scam works and people have lost millions.
“Since January 2018, the FTC has received more than 63,000 reports about Social Security scams from consumers,” according to Juliana Gruenwald from the FTC. “Of those who submitted complaints, 3 percent reported a loss – a total of $16.6 million (with a median loss of $1,484).”
Here are tips from the FTC:
- 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.
- 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 a phone call like this the FTC has asked that you report it here.