Opinion / Politics / Press Releases

Robocall Update: AMAC Warns of More Social Security Phone Scams

Robocall social security phone scamsWASHINGTON, DC – 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 scams.”

ABOUT AMAC

The Association of Mature American Citizens [AMAC] [https://www.amac.us], with 2 million members, is a vibrant, vital senior advocacy organization that takes its marching orders from its members.  We act and speak on their behalf, protecting their interests and offering a practical insight on how to best solve the problems they face today.  Live long and make a difference by joining us today at https://amac.us/join-amac.

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Dorothy M.
2 years ago

I was receiving so many calls several times a day that I stopped answering my phone if I didn’t know the number. I tried blocking them but they keep changing a digit of their phone number so if you do block them they can sneak right on by. It’s so ridiculous, the amount of calls I get from them. I have doctors offices calling me so idk if it might be one of them that I got referred to or not. But I still don’t answer them if I don’t know the number. The doctors offices have my email and cell phone number so they can send me a message if they need me to call them. It’s a shame that it has to be that way.

Arteest
2 years ago

Since these calls originate off shore, we should send a few covert hit squads to track them down and make life more interesting for them.

Barb Kyser
2 years ago

Received one of these. I didnt answer, didn’t know the number…..they left a message.

Roy Carroll
2 years ago

Lately I have even received from my own phone number showing up. I also received a legitimate call from my cell phone service fraud div who asked me to call customer service and ask for fraud div. I was given no number to call so had to get proper number. Someone was trying to buy 2 $1000 phones on my account.

Juniper
2 years ago

I usually just don’t answer, I expect that they will leave a message, if they don’t Fine. However, I got a call with a friends name and number on my caller ID. Why isn’t it illegal to spoof numbers. I can think of no reason for spoofing except making mischief.

Gonz' Mom
2 years ago
Reply to  Juniper

I’m sure it is illegal, just like drugs are illegal and murder is illegal. The question is how do you stop them? My father used to say that locks were for honest people. If a thief really wants to get in, there’s no lock that will stop him. That’s the way it is with these callers. They have auto-dialers that call a list of numbers, often every number in a series, until they get an answer. Then they go into their spiel.

I use True Caller (there is a free version) on my cell phone, but the way they spoof numbers, I’ve gotten calls from every number in my exchange, including former bosses of mine. There is no perfect fix. Everything helps, but nothing can catch them all.

The “Do Not Call” list only works for honest companies that check the list regularly. The rest of them just call any number that is working. There was a story once about a guy who wrote a program to capture the real phone number and keep calling it to prevent the scammers from using the line for about two hours, but few of us have that ability, and there’s probably something illegal about it any way.

Just use whatever you can, and be skeptical of everyone!

michael ruppert
2 years ago

And lately sometimes I get calls about my medicrap (sic) account which I don’t have, even tho it’s a local area code.

Jorge De la Rosa
2 years ago

I found a solution that works for me. You would need a cellphone with caller ID and allowing different ringtones. I found online a ringtone called « Silence ». This particular ringtone is mute. Once I downloaded it into my phone, I made it my default ringtone. Of course I had to go to each and every one of my known contacts to assign them a regular ’sounding’ ringtone. You also need to remember to assign a ‘sounding’ ringtone every time you add a new contact.
When an unknown person or entity calés me, my phone doesn’t ring. The Screen lights up and the number is displayed, though. I answer only if I choose to do so.

Bob Wippermann
2 years ago

Beware of calls from your city code as in. XXX-YYYY. THE XXX is your city(or town) code. They use phone numbers that look like someone local but they are not even in your state. Another clue is a long pause before someone says something.

Evelyn
2 years ago
Reply to  Bob Wippermann

Oh, yes I have even found my own phone number on my caller ID a few times. I have an answering machine, so unless I recognize the name and/or number I do not answer. If it is really for me they will lieave a message. If I am home I will answer it by hearing even part of a message I know is “for real”!!

Thomas H.
2 years ago

I only have a land line. About once a month, I will get a badly recorded message about how I am soon to be arrested due to… whatever. A few times, I was tempted to call the given number (for humorous effect) but never did since I heard that is a BAD idea.

Idaho Frank
2 years ago
Reply to  Thomas H.

It is a bad idea. If you call the number, many times it will roll over to a “900” type number, and your phone will be billed for the call, since you initiated it.

Gonz' Mom
2 years ago
Reply to  Thomas H.

The last one I got spoofed the County Sheriff’s office. Calling it back would have done no good.

archie higgins
2 years ago

Scamming an American should carry the ‘DEATH SENTENCE”!! Retired tax payers should have the opportunely to help put them down for scaming

Bev
2 years ago
Reply to  archie higgins

That sounds good to me!!!!!

Tom
2 years ago

congress will have trouble stopping the scam calls because many come from overseas, and US govt has no control over them. I often get calls wanting to lower my credit card rates to zero. (Never happen) and lower your balance. others say you have won millions, but you have to pay a fee, usually with a gift card you have to buy. Scam. some of my tactics. Tell caller there is a $50 fee for telemarketers. Click. Ask lots of questions. Which of my CC accounts do you have. What balance do you show. How did you get my info.Don’t give answers. I don’t have my card with me. I’m not home right now. That’s not my last balance. If you have time on your hands, come up with anything you can to draw out the call. They work on commission. The best way to end the call? ask “what country are you calling from” or ” can you get me someone that speaks better English?” This usually results in several f-bombs and a hang-up.

Thomas H.
2 years ago
Reply to  Tom

So strange that these robo-call foreigners have great difficulty with English, yet are quite adept at swearing various ways in English.

C M
2 years ago

It is very insulting to refer to the scam artists as “con men.” I find it virtually impossible that the scammers are men 100% of the time.

Anna Petrocelli
2 years ago

This is for June, below. That is not always true, for the scammers have found out another way to make you answer your call. They have figured out who calls you frequently and have found out where that person is from. And you, instead of seeing the number, they introduce the state where this number comes from. It has happened to me. When my daughter calls, she does not show her number or her name but the state she is from. Since I only have one person calling me from that state, I answer with “Hi Hon.” Well, you got it. It is not my daughter. It is the scammer and one specifically associated with Microsoft. Look out for these calls.

Dave
2 years ago

They typically just spoof a local area code to make it seem like a local call.

Thomas H.
2 years ago

I noticed that several times after my ending a personal phone call, the phone will ring. I would call back that individual asking if it was them (it never was). These scammers are that good. Another trick is they will have the phone ring once or twice, and then cut off – repeating this some three times (like it is some emergency).

Les
2 years ago

I have received to such calls this week. The caller claims too be with the SSA legal office. I guess that is supposed to scare me. SSA sends letters, they don’t call.

Pat Robinson
2 years ago

So these callers are crooks and Congress passing some bill is going to make a difference to a crook? That’s no different than the anti-gun people thinking taking guns away from legal owners is going to stop gun crime. Report the number of such calls and gov’t (who already has capability to track location and owner) can stop it pretty quickly. Anything else is just more throwing away tax dollars.

Poppy
2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Robinson

Unfortunately in many cases the calling number has been spoofed and you can’t tell where it’s actually coming from.

Tom Stanley
2 years ago

I get about 8 of the fake social security calls a day. Each from a different state.

Fixer48
2 years ago

As we get older it seems like the “street smarts” fade away. Folks that fall for these scams when younger are even worse when older. I’ve got to think there is some technology that is already here or will be developed to combat criminal calls. Something has to be done to protect seniors because obviously many don’t have the mental capacity to protect themselves.

Claire
2 years ago
Reply to  Fixer48

I use “nomorobo” on my house phone. LIttle harder on the cell phone, but there are programs that Identify and stop the calls. It is nice to only have 1 ring on the phones. If it is on their lists, one ring is all it takes to be disconnected. (Maybe the younger family members could set them up with these programs. ) However, this is really harming legitimate phone calls from coming through as they are now spamming real people and businesses. If only the people that come up with these things would work towards the good instead of “how can we steal more?”.

Rik
2 years ago

Oh, and another scam is if you are a grandparent and have a grandchild working in or visiting a foreign country and you get a call from a “so called foreign friend” of your grandchild who is calling you because your grandchild is in jail and doesn’t want to call his parents who will be angry. So can you send him the “bail money”? … Don’t know how they get all this right information, but somehow they do. Call your grandchild first to verify if this is true!

Claire
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

My answer to that call was “You know the rule, if you do the crime, you do the time.” But supposedly that was my grandson calling. Really, foreign accent?

Pat Robinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Actually had a good friend who had this exact thing happen 4-5 years ago. It was awful because she and her husband lived modestly and didn’t have much. But her grandson was worth it. Then she found out he was fine and it was a scam. We can only imagine the stress and then sense of having fallen for such a scam was on her. She’s since passed away from cancer.

PaulE
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Hi Rik,

To answer your question as to how the scammers have all the right information, that is simple. What most of the public either doesn’t know or doesn’t want to acknowledge is that after years and years of dozens of government agencies and major business databases being successfully breached, almost all your personal information is now our there for almost anyone to buy on the black market. They have your SS numbers, date of birth, address, phone numbers, places of present and past employment, virtually everything that has been routinely collected by the government or businesses over the years. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, as it should, but that is the sad reality of why all these scammers can call you up and provide you with so much accurate personal information on yourself.

The government could have passed much more rigorous laws, with harsher penalties, along with tougher data security standards for the retention and safeguarding of on-line data by both the government and on-line businesses back in the Clinton era to prevent much or this from ever happening. However, the government has always been way too slow, incompetent and unfocused to ever take a proactive approach on almost anything. So now it is unfortunately too late, as all the information is already out there, and it is now up to us to individually recognize and not fall for these obvious scams.

Ivan Berry
2 years ago
Reply to  PaulE

We are all spys now, putting way too much personal info out there by government requirements as well as many business interfaces. Makes us both spy and spyee. Ain’t life just grand.

Idaho Frank
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

I dragged out a call from one of these scammers for two days just a couple of months ago. It was from my “grandson”. I started out with Oh, John, what have you done now? (Not his name, so I knew right away it was a scammer). I agreed to get the money he needed to bail him out, but told him he would have to wait until someone could take me to the bank to arrange transfer of the money… He was pretty upset when I told him I had heard he was killed in the jail.

Arteest
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

This very thing happened to my M-in-L concerning my son who wasn’t out of country. My M-in-L would have emptied her bank acct. She was so panicked. Thankfully my B-in-L finally stepped in and put a stop to it.

Rik
2 years ago

Another scam is being called and told I am eligible to receive a one time grant of $10,000 from the Federal Government to spend as I wish. They had my name, address and Social Security number which made it sound legit. Though I suspected something was wrong because the fellow had an Indian accent. So I told him well since you have my address, just send me the money. He said they couldn’t do that because they needed to verify that it was really me. So, they said I could pick the money up from a Western Union office. But, I needed to verify that it was really me, so I needed to send them $300 and then they would send me the money. … I said, no problem, just subtract the $300 from the money and send me the balance. He then hung up on me. They’re out there people, and most of them seem to have a foreign accent. So beware!

Pat Robinson
2 years ago
Reply to  Rik

Cannot imagine the gov’t giving individuals a grant to spend any way they wish. Having your name & address is more reasonable than how the caller had your social security number. One way could be applying online for something and having to give social security number (which I frown on. I often wonder why doctor’s offices ask for SSN when they already have insurance info. Just more ways for SSN to be “out there”.

Dave
2 years ago
Reply to  Pat Robinson

I never give my SSN to a doctor’s office.
A couple years ago I had one that tried to insist in order for them to file a claim with my insurance. I told them to find a way if they wanted to be paid. They eventually figured it out. LOL

scheper linda
2 years ago

I have to answer, I ama rental Agent., so don’t answer unknown is not an option. However I did get a call and as she said there is a serious problem with your SS number. And …. I Hung Up. Checked my SS Account on line
All. Good. So No need to fear you maybe missing something important,
Check out your account on line.
But DO HANG UP.
KARTGIRL

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