There are hundreds of scams across the world when it comes to getting your information or getting into your finances. Scammers will stop at nothing to get your information and use it against you. The worst nightmare for anyone is to go get money out of an ATM or purchase something at a store counter and find out your money is gone.
Imagine working all your life and finally reach that retirement age where you hope to finally enjoy life. Many of us will be on Social Security checks with a little part-time job here and there to help pass the time. But one day you go for your money and BAM! You have been scammed, and all your money is gone!
The latest scam dealing with Social Security is an automated phone number comes up from Washington D.C., and the voice on the other end of the phone says, “Your Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity.” Young and old across the country have gotten this phone call, and it can scare the hell out of a person. Some have even reported they were threatened to be arrested if they did not respond to the message in a timely fashion.
Some people have reported having returned the phone call because it scared them so bad, and what is the first thing they ask you? “Please enter your Social Security number.” Others have reported they were told their “Social Security benefits may be in jeopardy” if they do not reactivate their Social Security number. They will request you buy gift cards or pay a fee to keep your number activated.
So what happens to people who do not understand all the technology or how today’s world turns? One woman wrote into The Washington Post and told her story of how her mother, who was on Social Security retirement fell victim.
She wrote, “My mother is 76 and has early Alzheimer’s,” one reader wrote. “She received a call saying that her Social Security information was compromised and that the only way to rectify the situation was to buy $3,200 in gift cards to Target and GameStop and give the codes to an ‘employee.’ She was told the money would be deposited back into her bank account. Obviously, the majority of people would understand that this is a scam, but she is easily confused and gave away all of the money in her checking account. And once it was gone, there was no way to help her or recover the money. In the defense of the stores, GameStop tried to talk her out of purchasing the gift cards. They knew it seemed sketchy. I guess in a perfect world they would have called the police before running the transaction, but they did try. Target helped try to gather information after the fact, and we appreciated that too. I wish that we would have known about the scam ahead of time, so we could have talked about it with her and warned her. My mother never could have even imagined that someone would impersonate a government employee.”
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) weighed in on the scams in their blog post stating, ‘Pretending to be the government may be scammers’ favorite ruse. Government impersonators can create a sense of urgent fear, telling you to send money right away or provide your social security number to avoid arrest or some other trouble.”
The FTC agency stated, since 2014, almost 1.3 million people have phoned in to check on the status only to find out it was government impostors. The FTC stated this scam has had more complaints than any other one put out there in any time frame. Reason being, it scares people so bad into paying, and it is the one working for the scammers.
Darlynda Bogle, assistant deputy commissioner for the Social Security Administration (SSA) put out a statement on the Social Security website, “Many people have received a call or voicemail from someone warning them that their Social Security number or benefits are suspended due to suspicious activity. It’s an alarming scam and one we must help people identify so that they do not become the next victim.”
There are a few main points to remember when receiving these phone calls. Don’t answer phone numbers with strange area codes. Never give out any personal information, especially SS#’s. Lastly, remember, Social Security never handles business over the phone. If they want to contact you, they will use letters.