The Federal Trade Commission says the biggest scam right now has con artists posing as the Social Security Administration.
When Wayne Chertoff’s caller ID told him the social security administration was calling, he picked up to hear a woman’s voice.
“She said that my Social Security number is being suspended because in El Paso, Texas, somebody was using my name and Social Security number to send thousands of dollars to Mexico and Columbia,” Chertoff said.
It was news to him.
“She said, ’Well you have an arrest warrant out there,’” Chertoff recalls.
To get rid of the “warrant”, he followed the woman’s instructions: buy $1400 of Google play cards at a drugstore, and then give the numbers off the back of the cards to the scammers over the phone. She told him he’d get the money back – BUT…
“When nobody called me the following day, I knew I was screwed,” Chertoff says.
He’s one of many: 76,000 have complained to the Federal Trade Commission about the scam, which is already outpacing the old IRS call….remember that one?
The FTC says that scam took in $17 million dollars in its peak year. This social security call scam is already up to $19 million dollars for the year ending March 31st.
“Here what we have are scammers who have decided that it is too recognizable to pretend to be the IRS anymore. They know that they can’t get away with that anymore so they’ve come up with a new angle, a new twist,” says Monica Vaca, of the FTC.
It should go without saying you should never give out your social security number over the phone. But now the FTC is saying, do not trust your caller ID which is guaranteed to frustrate all of us who’ve grown to rely on that feature.
The reason you can’t trust your caller ID? Scam artists use computer software to spoof a number to make it look like they are calling from the Social Security Administration or other government agency.