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Look out for scammers claiming to be from the Social Security Administration

Scammers are stealing Social Security numbers to use in filing fraudulent tax returns and identity theft – demanding money in many reports.

How the Scam Works:

You answer the phone and it’s someone alleging to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA). The name on your caller ID may say the same. The caller says your social security number has been used to fraudulently apply for a credit card or commit another crime. To fix the situation the caller needs you to confirm your SSN and other personal information. Cooperate or the caller threatens to take you to court or have your SSN blocked or revoked unless you pay a fictitious fine or judgement immediately over the phone.

No matter the details, the stories are designed to scare you. Scammers hope that you’ll tell them your SSN and other sensitive information.

“Anytime one gets an ‘urgent’ phone call from a federal agency like the SSA, it’s almost a guarantee to make that person break out in a cold sweat,” says Barry N. Moore, CEO of the BBB serving Central Virginia. “It’s criminals preying on consumers. Don’t fall for it,” Moore added.

How to Avoid the Scam:

  • Never give personal information to unsolicited callers. If someone contacts you without your permission, refuse to tell them any personal information.
  • Remember, the SSA will never call you asking for your Social Security number. They will never ask you to pay anything, nor will they threaten your benefits.
  • Don’t trust your caller ID. The internet has made it possible for scammers to use fake IDs when they call your home. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.
  • Contact the Social Security Administration: If you are concerned about a call you received from someone who claims to be with the SSA, you can call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).

For More Information:

To learn more about other kinds of scams, go to BBB.org/ScamTips. If you’ve been targeted by this scam, help others avoid the same problem by reporting your experience at FTC.gov/Complaint and BBB.org/ScamTracker.

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