Voice of the consumer: Reports of Social Security scam calls skyrocketing

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) - 11 News lead Call For Action investigator Katie Pelton pens a weekly column for our news partner The Gazette. Previous columns can be found here.

It seems like scammers have moved on from the IRS scam to using the Social Security scam now instead.

I have been hearing from a wave of people over the last month who are getting this call and it doesn’t seem to be slowing down. I’ve warned you about this scam before, but please make sure to tell your inner circle and everyone you know about this one since the calls are on the rise.

This is what the message sounds like: “Social Security number for criminal activities. So when you get this message, kindly revert as soon as possible, before we begin with the legal proceedings. Thank you and have a nice day.” That is a voicemail I got recently.

Just in the last week, I’ve heard from a handful of you who say you’ve gotten the same voicemail. We aren’t the only ones getting hit by this trend. The Federal Trade Commission says the Social Security scam is becoming more popular now than the IRS scam, which has dominated our phone lines for years. The FTC said reports of the Social Security scam are skyrocketing and IRS scam reports are dropping.

The FTC says people filed more than 76,000 reports about Social Security scam calls over the last year and lost more than $19 million. For comparison, when the IRS scam was at its peak, victims lost $17 million.

The caller claims there’s something wrong with your Social Security number and they ask you to verify the number. Sometimes, they will say your number has been suspended. Don’t fall for it, just hang up the phone.

Sometimes it might even look like the call is coming from the agency because the crooks are “spoofing” their phone number. Don’t trust your caller ID because they can make it look like they are calling from anywhere, even your own phone number, when really they might be calling from overseas.

You can always check with the legitimate Social Security Administration by calling 1-800-772-1213.

If you are the victim of a scam or wondering if you’re dealing with a scam, you can reach out to our 11 Call for Action volunteers at 719-457-8211. We are looking for volunteers right now so if you think you could help people spot scams or deal with consumer issues, give us a call.

Click here to read the original column on gazette.com.