CARSON CITY, Nev. (KLAS) — If someone from the Social Security Administration (SSA) calls asking you to verify your social security number, be warned. It’s a scam.
Nevada Attorney General Aaron Ford is warning the public about a growing phone scam where individuals acting as the federal agency call requesting victims’ social security numbers, personal information and access to financials.
Ford warned the scam may appear legitimate due to the scammers being able to impersonate or spoof the administration’s caller ID.
Several variations of the scam have been reported. The following are examples of what they may claim:
- Your SSN has been canceled, blocked or suspended due to suspicious activity. Scammers will ask the victim to pay a fee to reactivate it or receive a new number.
- Your SSN has been used to apply for credit cards. They will claim the victim is in danger of losing their benefits.
These calls are often serious and pre-recorded, asking you to contact the administration. Some scammers will leave a voicemail, asking for an immediate call back.
In all cases, scammers will often ask the victim to verify their social security number. Ford reminds the public these are unique identifiers that can be used for a range of tasks, including opening accounts or receiving benefits.
The Federal Trade Commission says nearly 73,000 Social Security Administration scams were reported in the first six months of 2019. They have resulted in $17 million in reported losses.
“Nobody’s phone number is safe, and it’s important for all Nevadans to be cautious when speaking to unknown callers, even if they recognize the caller ID,” Ford cautions. “Legitimate government agencies will not threaten you or demand access to your financial information over the phone.”
The Nevada Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips to help you avoid falling victim to this scam
- The SSA will not call and ask for confirmation of your SSN, ask you to pay or threaten your benefits.
- Do not answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize. If there is an official caller ID, please remember numbers can be spoofed.
- Do not give away your SSN, the last four digits or financial information
- The SSA will not call and ask you to wire money, send cash or provide gift cards. Always be suspicious when asked for payment in the form of these methods.
If you believe you’ve been contacted by a scammer, hang up. You may report your incident on the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General’s website or the Federal Trade Commission’s Complaint Assistant website.