That Call is Not from Social Security — Learn about the Latest Scam


>>NEW MESSAGE.>>DEPARTMENT OF THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION. THE REASON OF THIS CALL IS TO INFORM YOU THAT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER HAS BEEN SUSPENDED FOR SUSPICION OF ILLEGAL ACTIVITY. IF YOU DO NOT CONTACT US IMMEDIATELY, YOUR ACCOUNT WILL BE DEACTIVATED. FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THIS CASE FILE, PRESS ONE OR CALL IMMEDIATELY OUR DEPARTMENT NUMBER, 326 –>>THIS IS A SCAM. THIEVES ARE MISUSING THE SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION’S AUTHORITY IN PHONE SCHEMES TO TRICK YOU INTO GIVING THEM MONEY OR PERSONAL INFORMATION. THEY STATE THERE IS A PROBLEM WITH YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR ACCOUNT. THEY CLAIM THERE’S BEEN SUSPICIOUS OR FRAUDULENT ACTIVITY AND YOU COULD BE ARRESTED OR FACE OTHER LEGAL ACTION. THEY EVEN SPOOF SSA’S MAIN CUSTOMER SERVICE TELEPHONE NUMBER ON CALLER ID. DON’T BELIEVE THEM. DON’T PROVIDE ANY INFORMATION. SSA EMPLOYEES WILL NEVER THREATEN YOU FOR INFORMATION OR PROMISE BENEFITS IN EXCHANGE FOR INFORMATION. IN THOSE CASES, THE CALL IS FRAUDULENT. JUST HANG UP. IF YOU SUSPECT YOU’VE BEEN CONTACTED BY AN SSA SCAMMER, CALL THE SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD HOTLINE AT 1-800-269-0271.>>ALL RIGHT. WELCOME TO FACEBOOK LIVE. MY NAME’S ANDREW CANNARSA. I’M WITH THE SOCIAL SECURITY OFFICE OF THE INSPECTOR GENERAL. THANKS, EVERYONE, FOR TUNING IN TODAY. IT’S NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK, WHICH IS A DEDICATED TIME EACH YEAR WHERE THERE ARE EFFORTS ACROSS THE COUNTRY TO EDUCATE THE PUBLIC ABOUT VARIOUS IDENTITY THEFT SCAMS AND RELATED SCHEMES, AND ALSO TO PROVIDE THEM INFORMATION THAT WILL HELP THEM MAKE GOOD DECISIONS WITH THEIR MONEY AND RESOURCES. SO WE’RE THRILLED TO BE JOINED BY OUR COLLEAGUES FROM THE FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION FOR THIS DISCUSSION TODAY. THE FTC IS THE AUTHORITY ON ALL THINGS CONSUMER PROTECTION AND EDUCATION. SO I’D LIKE TO WELCOME LISA SCHIFFERLE, WHO IS AN ATTORNEY WITH THE FTC, FOR JOINING US TODAY. AND LISA, IF YOU COULD MAYBE SHARE WITH THE VIEWERS SOME BACKGROUND ON THE FTC AND YOUR ROLE WITH THE AGENCY.>>SURE. THANKS, ANDREW. MY NAME’S LISA SCHIFFERLE. I’M AN ATTORNEY WITH THE FTC’S DIVISION OF CONSUMER AND BUSINESS EDUCATION. AND IF PEOPLE AREN’T FAMILIAR WITH THE FTC, WE ARE A NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION AGENCY. MY DIVISION, THE DIVISION OF CONSUMER AND BUSINESS EDUCATION, OUR JOB IS TO EDUCATE CONSUMERS AND BUSINESSES ABOUT THEIR RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES. SO A LOT OF WHAT WE DO IS TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT SCAMS AND IDENTITY THEFT LIKE WE’RE DOING TODAY, AND ABOUT IMPOSTER SCAMS, WHICH ARE THE NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT THAT THE FTC RECEIVED IN 2018.>>RIGHT. WITH IT BEING NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK, WE THOUGHT IT WOULD BE VERY APPROPRIATE TO DISCUSS IMPOSTER SCAMS. THERE’S BEEN A LOT IN THE NEWS ABOUT THESE INSTANCES AND COMPLAINTS PROBABLY, I THINK, AT THE FTC AND CERTAINLY IN THE OIG WE’RE SEEING ARE REALLY INCREASING DRASTICALLY IN RECENT MONTHS. SO LISA AND I ARE GOING TO TALK IN GENERAL ABOUT IMPOSTER SCAMS. WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT SOME OF THE TACTICS THAT THE PERPETRATORS OF THESE CALLS ARE EMPLOYING TO TRY TO TRICK PEOPLE. AND WE’LL ALSO GIVE THE VIEWER SOME ACTUAL INFORMATION SO THAT THEY CAN IDENTIFY THESE SCAMS AND HOPEFULLY AVOID THEM. WITH THIS BEING FACEBOOK LIVE, WE’D REALLY APPRECIATE IF THIS WAS AN INTERACTIVE DISCUSSION. SO IF YOU HAVE ANY QUESTIONS OR COMMENTS THAT YOU’D LIKE LISA AND I TO ADDRESS, YOU CAN POST THOSE IN THE COMMENTS SECTION AND WE’LL TRY TO GET TO THEM BEFORE THE END OF THE BROADCAST. YOU KNOW, AS WE’RE TALKING ABOUT IDENTITY THEFT, WE DO WANT TO WARN, YOU KNOW, DON’T POST ANY OF YOUR OWN PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION OF, YOU KNOW, YOURSELF OR OTHERS IN THE COMMENTS SECTION BELOW. TO START, LISA, JUST TO SET THE FOUNDATION FOR THE DISCUSSION, COULD YOU TALK IN GENERAL ABOUT IMPOSTER SCAMS, WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE, MAYBE SOME OF THE FACTORS INVOLVED IN THESE SCAMS?>>ABSOLUTELY. WELL, LIKE I SAID, IMPOSTER SCAMS ARE THE NUMBER ONE COMPLAINT THAT THE FTC RECEIVED IN 2018. SO THAT BEAT OUT DEBT COLLECTION AND IDENTITY THEFT FOR THE VERY FIRST TIME. SO IT’S REALLY GREAT THAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE TODAY. AND WHAT WE HEARD FROM OUR COMPLAINTS IS THAT ONE IN FIVE PEOPLE ARE REPORTING LOSING MONEY TO THESE IMPOSTER SCAMS. SO WHAT THE IMPOSTER SCAMS ARE IS THAT BASICALLY SOMEBODY CALLS AND THEY PRETEND TO BE SOMEONE WHO YOU TRUST. IT COULD BE THE GOVERNMENT. IT COULD BE SOCIAL SECURITY. IT COULD BE THE IRS. COULD BE A BANK. IT COULD BE EVEN SOMEONE YOU KNOW, LIKE YOUR GRANDCHILD. AND THE COMMONALITY IS THAT THIS PERSON OR ENTITY THAT YOU TRUST THEN ASKS YOU TO SEND MONEY, OR SOMETIMES THEY’LL ASK FOR PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR IDENTITY THEFT. AND WHEN THEY ASK FOR MONEY, THEY’LL USUALLY ASK FOR IT BY WIRE TRANSFER, BY PREPAID CARD, OR BY GIFT CARD. BECAUSE ONCE YOU SEND IT THAT WAY, IT’S VERY, VERY HARD TO GET IT BACK. SO THOSE ARE BIG RED FLAGS FOR IMPOSTER SCAMS AND WHAT PEOPLE SHOULD LOOK OUT FOR.>>I’M SURE A LOT OF THE VIEWERS ARE NODDING IN AGREEMENT AS THEY HEAR THAT EXPLANATION OF IMPOSTER SCAMS. THEY’VE PROBABLY RECEIVED ONE THEMSELVES OR THEY KNOW A FAMILY MEMBER OR A FRIEND WHO’S RECEIVED ONE, YOU KNOW, ALL THOSE ELEMENTS BEING PRESENT. IS THERE AN EXAMPLE OF A CERTAIN SCAM THAT STANDS OUT AMONG THE REST?>>SURE. WELL, WE’LL TALK ABOUT THE SOCIAL SECURITY ONES IN A MINUTE. BUT ANOTHER BIG ONE TO LOOK OUT FOR ARE THE IRS IMPOSTER SCAMS. AND IN THAT ONE, IT’S ANOTHER TYPE OF GOVERNMENT IMPOSTER SCAM WHERE THE PERSON CALLING SAYS THEY’RE FROM THE IRS AND THEY SAY THAT YOU HAVE A TAX DEBT. AND SOMETIMES THEY’LL SAY THAT THEY’RE ABOUT TO FILE A LAWSUIT AGAINST YOU. SOMETIMES THEY’LL SAY THE SHERIFF’S AT YOUR DOORSTEP AND THEY’RE COMING TO ARREST YOU. SOMETIMES THEY’LL EVEN SAY THEY’RE ABOUT TO DEPORT YOU. AND AGAIN, THEY’LL ASK FOR YOU TO PAY QUICKLY BY WIRE TRANSFER, PREPAID CARD, OR GIFT CARD. SO THAT’S HOW YOU KNOW IT’S A SCAM. THE IRS IS NOT GOING TO REQUEST PAYMENT THOSE WAYS. AND IF YOU HAVE ANY DOUBT, WELL, FIRST OF ALL, THE IRS WILL SEND YOU A LETTER BEFORE THEY CALL YOU, AND THAT LETTER SHOULD HAVE A PIN NUMBER ON IT AND THE PERSON CALLING SHOULD KNOW THAT NUMBER BEFORE YOU GIVE ANY INFORMATION. BUT REALLY, THE BEST THING TO DO IS DON’T GIVE ANY INFORMATION TO SOMEONE WHO CALLS YOU. CALL BACK THE IRS AT THE NUMBER YOU KNOW TO BE CORRECT. BECAUSE YOU CAN’T BE SURE WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO UNLESS YOU INITIATE THE CALL.>>YEAH, THAT’S REALLY GOOD INFORMATION. I THINK, YOU KNOW, WHAT WE SEE IS THERE ARE TWO THINGS HAPPENING THERE WHERE THE CALLER IS USING THE AUTHORITY OF AN AGENCY LIKE THE IRS, SO THAT, YOU KNOW, THAT’S HOW THEY GET IN. AND THEN THE SECOND PART IS THEY’RE PLAYING ON A PERSON’S ANXIETIES OR FEARS WHERE THEY’RE SAYING YOU OWE MONEY TO US. IF THIS DOESN’T HAPPEN, YOU COULD FACE SOME CONSEQUENCES. SO THOSE TWO THINGS COMING TOGETHER HAS LED TO A REAL PROBLEM WITH THE IRS SCAM, WHERE UNFORTUNATELY WE’VE SEEN THAT VICTIMS HAVE LOST COMBINED MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THERE ARE THINGS ON THE INVESTIGATIVE SIDE THAT ARE HAPPENING WITH REGARD TO THESE SCHEMES. YOU KNOW, ALL OF THESE ALLEGATIONS ARE COMING IN. I KNOW, FOR THE OIG, THEY WERE ABLE TO WORK CLOSELY WITH THE TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL FOR TAX ADMINISTRATION TO ACTUALLY LOCATE A RING OF AN IRS IMPERSONATION SCAMS. THERE WERE FIVE PEOPLE INVOLVED AND THEY HAD, YOU KNOW, THROUGH THESE METHODS STOLEN ABOUT $10 MILLION FROM VICTIMS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. THANKFULLY AS A RESULT OF THE INVESTIGATION, ALL FIVE WERE ARRESTED, CHARGED, AND LAST YEAR SENTENCED TO PRISON TIME. THE RINGLEADER HIMSELF RECEIVED A TEN-YEAR PRISON SENTENCE. SO THINGS ARE HAPPENING ON THE INVESTIGATIVE SIDE TO SHOW PERPETRATORS THAT THERE ARE GOING TO BE CONSEQUENCES, THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT IS INVESTIGATING. IT’S ALSO THEN EQUALLY IMPORTANT THAT EVENTS LIKE THIS HELP PROMOTE PUBLIC OUTREACH SO THAT PEOPLE THEMSELVES DON’T BECOME VICTIMS.>>ABSOLUTELY. AND THE FTC HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN SOME OF THOSE LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIONS, TOO, SHUTTING DOWN SOME CALL CENTERS IN INDIA IN 2016, WHICH LED TO A BIG DECLINE IN IRS IMPOSTER SCAM CALLS. BUT IT’S ALSO REALLY IMPORTANT TO DO THE CONSUMER EDUCATION LIKE WE’RE DOING HERE TODAY. AND IF PEOPLE WANT TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE IMPOSTER SCAMS, THEY CAN GO TO FTC.GOV/IMPOSTERS. WE HAVE A LOT OF INFORMATION THERE ABOUT ALL THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF IMPOSTER SCAMS. AND IF YOU WANT TO STAY TUNED AND KNOW ABOUT THE LATEST SCAM THAT’S COMING DOWN THE PIKE, A GOOD WAY TO DO THAT IS TO SIGN UP FOR OUR CONSUMER ALERTS AT FTC.GOV/SCAMS. PEOPLE CAN SIGN UP FOR FREE EMAIL ALERTS WHICH TELL THEM ABOUT THE SCAMS THAT WE’RE SEEING AND THEY’LL GET COPIES OF THE BLOGS THAT WE DO EVERY TIME THAT WE WRITE ABOUT A NEW SCAM.>>TALKING NOW THEN ABOUT THE SOCIAL SECURITY SCAM, I KNOW IN THE OIG WE’VE SEEN THESE ALLEGATIONS REALLY INCREASE IN RECENT MONTHS DATING BACK TO THE END OF 2018. HAS THE FTC SEEN A SIMILAR INCREASE AND DO YOU HAVE ANY SPECIFIC NUMBERS TO SHARE?>>ABSOLUTELY. WE HAVE SEEN THAT THESE IMPOSTER SCAMS WHERE PEOPLE ARE IMPERSONATING THE SSA HAVE SKYROCKETED. IN 2017, WE GOT ABOUT 3,200 COMPLAINTS ABOUT THE SSA IMPOSTER SCAM AND PEOPLE REPORTED LOSING ABOUT $210,000. BUT IF YOU LOOK AT FROM 2018, THE START OF 2018 UNTIL NOW, IT’S GONE WAY UP SO THAT WE’VE GOTTEN MORE THAN 63,000 REPORTS, AND PEOPLE HAVE TOLD US THEY’VE LOST $16.6 MILLION SINCE THE START OF 2018. AND, IN FACT, IF YOU LOOK AT THE MEDIAN LOSS THAT AN INDIVIDUAL MIGHT LOSE, IT’S $1,484. SO THAT CAN BE A LOT OF MONEY FOR A PERSON. SO IT’S REALLY GOOD THAT PEOPLE ARE REPORTING THESE SCAMS TO US. THEY CAN REPORT THEM AT FTC.GOV/COMPLAINT. AND THE MORE THEY REPORT, THE MORE WE’RE ABLE TO WORK TOGETHER TO TRY TO STOP THEM. ALSO FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE LOOKING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THESE SSA CALLS, THEY CAN GO TO A NEW SITE THAT WE SET UP JUST IN RESPONSE TO HOW MUCH THESE CALLS HAVE SKYROCKETED. IT’S IDENTITYTHEFT.GOV/SSA. AND AT IDENTITYTHEFT.GOV/SSA THEY’LL GET ALL THE INFORMATION THEY NEED ABOUT HOW TO RECOGNIZE THESE CALLS AND WHAT TO DO IF THEY DID GIVE THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, AND ALSO HOW TO REPORT IDENTITY THEFT IF THEY THINK THEIR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER WAS MISUSED.>>YEAH, REALLY GREAT THAT THE FTC WAS ABLE TO STAND UP THAT SSA-SPECIFIC SITE, THAT JUST WENT UP IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS. IT SHOULD BE VERY HELPFUL FOR OUR VIEWERS IF THEY HAVE RECEIVED A CALL OR THEY KNOW ANYONE THAT’S RECEIVED A CALL. AND, YOU KNOW, JUST HEARING THOSE NUMBERS, ESPECIALLY $16 MILLION IN LOSSES ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SCAM, OBVIOUSLY A VERY IMPORTANT ISSUE THAT WE SHOULD HIGHLIGHT WITH THE PUBLIC. FROM THE COMPLAINTS WE’VE RECEIVED, IT SEEMS THERE ARE A FEW SPECIFIC TACTICS THAT THE CALLERS ARE USING TO TRY TO USE THAT SSA AUTHORITY AND REPUTATION TO TRICK PEOPLE INTO WHETHER IT’S GIVING UP PERSONAL INFORMATION OR MONEY. SO LISA AND I ARE GOING TO GO THROUGH FOUR EXAMPLES OF THESE TACTICS, AND WE EVEN HAVE A SAMPLE PHONE CALL THAT WE’LL PLAY FOR YOU IN A COUPLE OF MINUTES SO YOU CAN BE AWARE OF WHAT A CALL MIGHT SOUND LIKE. THE FIRST TACTIC, LISA, THAT WE’RE GOING TO TALK ABOUT WE’RE CALLING SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OR ACCOUNT ISSUES. WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH THIS TACTIC?>>RIGHT, THAT’S A REALLY COMMON TACTIC. AND BASICALLY WHAT HAPPENS IS SOMEONE CALLS YOU AND SAYS THERE’S A PROBLEM WITH YOUR ACCOUNT, AND THEN THEY GIVE YOU A NUMBER FOR YOU TO CALL BACK IN ORDER TO STRAIGHTEN OUT THE SUPPOSED PROBLEM. BUT WHAT THEY DO WHEN YOU CALL BACK IS THEN THEY ASK FOR YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. THEY MAY ASK FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER, THEY MAY ASK YOUR NAME, YOUR DATE OF BIRTH, AND REALLY WHAT THEY’RE TRYING TO DO IS NOT HELP YOU WITH AN ACCOUNT PROBLEM. THEY’RE TRYING TO GET YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION FOR IDENTITY THEFT. SO PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GIVE OUT INFORMATION AND SHOULD HANG UP ON THOSE CALLS.>>RIGHT. THE SECOND TACTIC, ALSO VERY COMMON, AND WE’RE CALLING THIS ONE A CLAIM OF SUSPICIOUS ACCOUNT ACTIVITY. AND THIS IS THE ONE THAT WE ACTUALLY HAVE AN EXAMPLE OF A PHONE CALL THAT A CITIZEN RECEIVED AND SENT TO US. SO WE’RE GOING TO PLAY THAT FOR YOU RIGHT NOW SO YOU CAN HEAR WHAT THESE CALLS SOUND LIKE.>>THIS CALL IS FROM THE DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SECURITY ADMINISTRATION. THE REASON YOU HAVE RECEIVED THIS PHONE CALL FROM OUR DEPARTMENT IS TO INFORM YOU THAT WE JUST SUSPEND YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER BECAUSE WE FOUND SOME SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY. SO IF YOU WANT TO KNOW ABOUT THIS CASE JUST PRESS ONE. THANK YOU.>>AGAIN, THAT WAS AN ACTUAL CALL THAT A CITIZEN SENT TO US. LISA, WHAT STOOD OUT TO YOU IN THAT MESSAGE?>>WELL, WHAT’S REALLY DISTURBING ABOUT THIS TYPE OF CALL IS THAT THEY’RE REALLY PREYING ON PEOPLE’S FEARS EVEN MORE THAN MAKING IT SOUND LIKE YOU’RE ALREADY A VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT, SO THAT CAN BE VERY SCARY FOR PEOPLE. THEY’RE SAYING THAT THERE’S SUSPICIOUS ACTIVITY ON YOUR ACCOUNT AND YOUR ACCOUNT MAY BE DISCONTINUED. SO, OF COURSE, PEOPLE ARE GOING TO BE MORE WORRIED ABOUT THAT. BUT, OF COURSE, AGAIN, THIS IS JUST ANOTHER TWIST ON THE SCAM AND PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GIVE OUT PERSONAL INFORMATION TO ANYONE WHO CALLS THEM WITH THESE CLAIMS.>>SO AS YOU HEARD IN THOSE FIRST FEW TACTICS, THE CALLERS ARE PREYING ON PEOPLE’S FEARS, YOU KNOW, PLAYING THAT EMOTIONAL CARD. THIS NEXT ONE, AGAIN, IS PLAYING ON SOMEONE’S EMOTIONS BUT KIND OF IN THE OPPOSITE WAY, WHERE THEY’RE PROMISING SOMETHING GOOD COULD HAPPEN, AND WE CALL THIS THE PROMISE OF A POTENTIAL BENEFIT INCREASE.>>RIGHT. IT’S ALMOST LIKE A LOTTERY OR SWEEPSTAKES SCAM. THEY’RE SAYING YOU CAN PROBABLY GET BETTER, BIGGER BENEFITS IF YOU JUST CALL US BACK AND LET US KNOW ALL YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION. AGAIN, THEY’RE GOING TO ASK FOR YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER AND SAY THAT YOU’LL GET A BENEFIT INCREASE IF YOU GIVE OUT THAT INFORMATION. BUT, AGAIN, THIS IS A SCAM AND PEOPLE SHOULD NOT GIVE OUT THE PERSONAL INFORMATION. AND IF THEY DO HAVE QUESTIONS ABOUT THEIR BENEFITS AND WHAT THEY’RE ENTITLED TO AND IF MAYBE THEY ARE ENTITLED TO MORE BENEFITS, THEY SHOULD CALL BACK SOCIAL SECURITY AT THE NUMBER THEY KNOW TO BE CORRECT, BECAUSE YOU ONLY REALLY KNOW WHO YOU’RE TALKING TO IF YOU INITIATE THE CALL.>>YEAH, THAT’S A VERY GOOD POINT. WHEN IN DOUBT, IF YOU’RE CONCERNED ABOUT A CLAIM FOR BENEFITS OR YOUR ONGOING BENEFITS, JUST CALL SOCIAL SECURITY DIRECTLY AND THEY CAN HELP YOU CLEAR THE ISSUE UP. THE FOURTH AND FINAL TACTIC — AND WE’RE SEEING A LOT MORE OF THIS IN RECENT DAYS, I DON’T KNOW IF THE FTC IS — IS THE THREAT OF ARREST FOR ILLEGAL ACTION. SO THIS IS A MORE SERIOUS CLAIM THAT’S COMING FROM THESE CALLERS.>>RIGHT. WE’RE DEFINITELY SEEING MORE OF THESE, AS WELL. AND IT IS VERY SERIOUS AND IT’S VERY SCARY TO PEOPLE. AGAIN, THEY’RE PREYING ON PEOPLE’S FEARS, AND IN THIS TIME IT’S THE FEAR OF ARREST. THEY’LL SAY THAT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER HAS BEEN INVOLVED IN ILLEGAL ACTIVITY AND IT’S GOING TO BE DISCONTINUED AND YOU MAY EVEN GO TO JAIL AND THEY’RE GOING TO ARREST YOU FOR THIS ILLEGAL ACTIVITY. AGAIN, THEY JUST WANT EITHER YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OR YOUR MONEY. SO DON’T GIVE IT, AND HANG UP ON THESE IMPOSTER CALLS.>>ON TOP OF THESE TACTICS, WE’RE ALSO HEARING THAT SCAMMERS ARE SPOOFING PHONE NUMBERS THAT ARE ASSOCIATED WITH SSA, TRYING TO MASK THEM TO LOOK LIKE THEY’RE FROM SSA ON CALLER ID. ARE YOU SEEING THAT AT THE FTC, AS WELL, AND WHAT SHOULD VIEWERS KNOW ABOUT THAT?>>ABSOLUTELY. SPOOFING IS A REALLY COMMON TACTIC NOW FOR THESE IMPOSTER SCAMS, NOT JUST WITH THE SSA IMPOSTER, BUT WITH ALL IMPOSTERS. AND WHAT IT MEANS IS THAT BASICALLY SOMEONE CAN CALL FROM ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD AND MAKE IT LOOK LIKE THEY’RE CALLING FROM SOCIAL SECURITY OR THE FTC OR FROM YOUR GRANDCHILD’S HOUSE. AND SO YOU REALLY CAN’T TRUST CALLER ID ANYMORE. YOU CAN ONLY TRUST IF YOU INITIATE THE CALL.>>GREAT. THAT’S GOOD INFORMATION. THERE ARE THREE THINGS THAT, AFTER HAVING DISCUSSED THESE TACTICS AND CONSIDERING PHONE CALLS FROM SOCIAL SECURITY, THREE THINGS THAT VIEWERS SHOULD KNOW. THE FIRST IS THAT SSA EMPLOYEES DO AT TIMES CONTACT PEOPLE FOR CUSTOMER SERVICE REASONS, BUT THIS GENERALLY OCCURS IF A PERSON HAS ONGOING BUSINESS WITH SSA. SO THEY MIGHT BE FILING A CLAIM. THEY MIGHT HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT A CLAIM. THEY MIGHT HAVE CALLED SSA AND REQUESTED A CALL BACK. SO THERE ARE SOME CIRCUMSTANCES WHERE SSA IS MAKING OUTBOUND CALLS. THE SECOND POINT, HOWEVER, IS THAT THERE SHOULDN’T BE MANY UNEXPECTED CALLS COMING FROM SSA. IT SHOULDN’T BE SOMETHING THAT HAPPENS OUT OF THE BLUE AND YOU DON’T KNOW THE REASON WHY SSA WOULD BE CONTACTING YOU. AND WITH BOTH OF THOSE POINTS SAID, THE MOST IMPORTANT IS THAT SSA — WE CAN SAY THIS DEFINITIVELY — WILL NOT THREATEN YOU FOR INFORMATION. THEY WILL NOT SAY YOU’RE ABOUT TO BE ARRESTED. THEY WON’T PROMISE A BENEFIT INCREASE IN EXCHANGE FOR MONEY OR INFORMATION. YOU KNOW, IN ALL OF THOSE INSTANCES WE CAN CLEARLY SAY THAT’S A FRAUDULENT CALL, AND THE BEST ADVICE I WOULD SAY IS JUST HANG UP.>>ABSOLUTELY. THAT’S GREAT ADVICE. IT’S REALLY IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE LISTEN TO THE TONE ON THESE CALLS. BECAUSE, LIKE YOU SAID, THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT GOING TO CALL AND THREATEN YOU WITH ARREST OR DEPORTATION. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO BE SCREAMING AT YOU. THEY’RE NOT GOING TO ASK YOU TO PAY BY PREPAID CARD, GIFT CARD, OR WIRE TRANSFER. THAT’S NOT HOW THE GOVERNMENT TAKES PAYMENT. SO THOSE ARE GOOD RED FLAGS THAT YOU’RE DEALING WITH A SCAMMER AND TO, LIKE YOU SAID, JUST HANG UP.>>AND I THINK IF WE CAN JUST, YOU KNOW, MAKE ONE POINT THAT THE VIEWERS TAKE AWAY, IT’S, YOU KNOW, YOU MIGHT PICK UP THE PHONE, YOU MIGHT GET ONE OF THESE CALLS. BUT REALLY FOCUS ON THE CONTENT. FOCUS ON THE TONE. IF IT DOESN’T SEEM LIKE IT MAKES SENSE, JUST HANG UP AND MOVE ON. THANKS FOR THE CONVERSATION SO FAR. I THINK AT THIS POINT WE’RE GOING TO SEE IF THERE HAVE BEEN ANY VIEWER QUESTIONS. WHILE WE CHECK IF THAT — IF ANYTHING’S COME IN, JUST SPEAKING GENERALLY, LISA, DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR THE VIEWERS JUST, YOU KNOW, BIG PICTURE TO PROTECT THEIR PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION?>>SURE. THE FTC HAS LOTS OF TIPS ABOUT PROTECTING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION WHICH YOU CAN FIND AT CONSUMER.FTC.GOV. BUT IN PARTICULAR, WE HAVE TIPS ABOUT THE SOCIAL SECURITY IMPOSTER CALLS. WE SET UP A SPECIAL SITE FOR IT, SO I DO WANT TO REPEAT FOR PEOPLE THAT IDENTITYTHEFT.GOV/SSA. BUT SOME THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND ARE TO PROTECT YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER YEAR ROUND, BUT ESPECIALLY AT TAX TIME. DON’T GIVE OUT THAT SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER UNLESS IT’S ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY. SO IF A DOCTOR’S OFFICE OR SOMEONE ELSE ASKS YOU TO PUT IT ON A FORM, ASK THEM WHY THEY NEED IT AND HOW THEY’RE GOING TO PROTECT IT, AND SOMETIMES THEY DON’T REALLY NEED IT. AND THE FEWER TIMES THAT YOU HAVE YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER OUT THERE, THE LESS LIKELY IT IS TO BE EXPOSED. ALSO IT’S IMPORTANT THAT PEOPLE PRACTICE BASIC ONLINE SAFETY, THINGS LIKE DON’T TRANSMIT FINANCIAL INFORMATION OVER PUBLIC WIFI, KEEP YOUR ANTIVIRUS AND ANTI-MALWARE UP TO DATE. AND THEN ALSO DO THINGS LIKE CHECKING YOUR STATEMENTS REGULARLY AND CHECKING YOUR CREDIT ANNUALLY AT ANNUALCREDITREPORT.COM. THOSE ARE GREAT WAYS TO SEE IF THERE IS ANY MISUSE OF YOUR ACCOUNT GOING ON SO YOU CAN TAKE STEPS BEFORE IT GETS TOO FAR OUT OF HAND.>>YEAH, I THINK, SIMILARLY, IF YOU GET THOSE STRANGE EMAILS OR TEXT MESSAGES, MAYBE, YOU KNOW, RESPOND TO THEM THE SAME WAY YOU RESPOND TO THESE CALLS. IF YOU JUST HANG UP ON THE CALL, YOU KNOW, JUST DELETE THE TEXT. JUST DELETE THAT EMAIL IF IT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE. ANOTHER QUESTION THAT I THINK WOULD BE HELPFUL FOR VIEWERS, IF THEY RECEIVE AN IMPOSTER CALL OR THEY’RE WORRIED THAT THEY MAY HAVE DISCLOSED INFORMATION OR GIVEN UP MONEY TO AN IMPROPER SOURCE, IF THEY MAKE A REPORT TO THE FTC, IS THERE ANY INFORMATION THAT WOULD BE REALLY HELPFUL IN THEIR REPORT TO YOU?>>WELL, IT’S GREAT FOR PEOPLE TO GIVE AS MUCH INFORMATION AS POSSIBLE. TELL US AS MUCH AS YOU CAN ABOUT THE CALL, INCLUDING THE PHONE NUMBER. EVEN THOUGH THE PHONE NUMBER CAN BE SPOOFED, IT STILL DOES HELP US TO KNOW WHAT PHONE NUMBER YOU’RE SEEING THAT THEY’RE CALLING FROM, BECAUSE WE CAN CHECK FOR PATTERNS. ALSO WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ON THE CALL, BECAUSE THAT CAN HELP US FIGURE OUT THINGS LIKE THE LATEST TWIST ON THE SSA IMPOSTER AND THE DIFFERENT TYPES THAT WE DISCUSSED EARLIER. SO, AGAIN, PEOPLE CAN REPORT AT FTC.GOV/COMPLAINT AND WE REALLY DO ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO REPORT, BECAUSE WE CAN WORK TOGETHER WITH PEOPLE LIKE SOCIAL SECURITY AND THE TREASURY INSPECTOR GENERAL TO TRY TO STOP THESE SCAM CALLS FROM HAPPENING. SO PLEASE, DO REPORT THEM AT FTC.GOV/COMPLAINT.>>AND I THINK, YOU KNOW, VIEWERS WATCHING THIS ARE PROBABLY, THEY’RE PROBABLY ASKING, HAVE YOU OR I RECEIVED ANY OF THESE CALLS? LISA, DO YOU HAVE AN EXAMPLE WHERE YOU GOT AN IMPOSTER CALL? YOU KNOW, WHAT WAS THE SCENARIO AND HOW DID YOU REACT?>>YEAH, GOOD QUESTION. I THINK MOST PEOPLE IN THE COUNTRY NOW HAVE RECEIVED ONE OF THESE CALLS, AND I HAVE, TOO. IN FACT, I’VE GOTTEN THE IRS IMPOSTER CALL MULTIPLE TIMES. THE FIRST TIME WE GOT IT ON OUR HOME ANSWERING MACHINE, MY KIDS WERE A LITTLE SCARED AND WERE ASKING, OH, DO WE OWE TAXES? ARE WE GOING TO JAIL? THE SECOND TIME WE GOT IT, THEY SAID, OH, WE GOT ANOTHER ONE OF THOSE SCAM CALLS ON THE PHONE. SO THAT’S WHAT THESE SESSIONS ARE FOR, SO THAT PEOPLE CAN RECOGNIZE THESE SCAMS SO THAT WHEN THEY GET THEM THEY REALIZE IT’S A SCAM, BECAUSE IT CAN BE SCARY IF YOU DON’T REALIZE IT. BUT IF YOU DO REALIZE IT, THEN YOU CAN HANG UP ON THE CALLS AND NOT CALL BACK IF YOU GET A MESSAGE, AND THEN THAT WILL HELP US TO END THESE IMPOSTER CALLS.>>YEAH. IT SEEMS LIKE THERE’S NO END TO THE TYPES OF CALLS YOU’LL GET OR WHAT THEY’RE REFERENCING. I KNOW I’VE GOTTEN SEVERAL THAT ARE FROM ENERGY OR UTILITY COMPANIES THAT ARE FROM DIFFERENT STATES THAN I LIVE AND IT WILL SAY, YOU KNOW, THERE’S AN ISSUE WITH YOUR UTILITY BILL, YOU’VE GOT TO CALL TO RESOLVE IT, HERE’S THIS LONG NUMBER THAT YOU NEED TO REFERENCE. EVERYTHING THEY CAN TO MAKE IT SEEM OFFICIAL, BUT THEN, YOU KNOW, IT’S A DIFFERENT STATE, SO I THINK THAT’S RED FLAG RIGHT THERE. WELL, THANK YOU FOR THOSE ANSWERS, EVERYTHING, VERY HELPFUL. I THINK BEFORE WE GET READY TO SIGN OFF, DO YOU HAVE ANY FINAL THOUGHTS OR MESSAGES FOR THE VIEWERS FROM THE FTC?>>SURE. WELL, FIRST, THANKS SO MUCH FOR HAVING US. IT’S REALLY GREAT TO BE HERE TO TALK ABOUT THIS IMPORTANT ISSUE. AND JUST IN CLOSING, TO RECAP, IF YOU DO GET ONE OF THESE CALLS FROM SOMEONE CLAIMING TO BE FROM THE GOVERNMENT WHO’S ASKING FOR YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION OR ASKING YOU TO SEND MONEY BY PREPAID CARD OR WIRE TRANSFER OR GIFT CARD, PLEASE HANG UP AND THEN REPORT THE CALL. YOU CAN REPORT IT TO FTC.GOV/COMPLAINT. AND IF YOU HAVE ANY MORE QUESTIONS ABOUT SSA IMPOSTER CALLS AFTER THIS, PLEASE VISIT IDENTITYTHEFT.GOV/SSA. IT’LL GIVE YOU ALL THE TIPS ABOUT HOW TO RECOGNIZE AND REPORT THESE CALLS.>>GREAT; THANK YOU. I’LL JUST ADD, TOO, THAT THE OIG HAS A LOT OF INFORMATION ON SCAM AWARENESS ON ITS WEBSITE AND YOU CAN ALSO SUBMIT RELEVANT SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ALLEGATIONS TO THE OIG. THAT WEBSITE IS OIG.SSA.GOV. BUT THAT’S ALL THE TIME WE HAVE FOR TODAY. THANKS SO MUCH TO LISA AND THE FTC FOR JOINING US IN THIS EFFORT. THANKS, EVERYONE AT SSA BEHIND THE SCENES WHO HELPED SET THIS UP. AND WE HOPE THE VIEWERS APPRECIATED THIS BROADCAST IN SUPPORT OF NATIONAL CONSUMER PROTECTION WEEK. FOR LISA SCHIFFERLE, I’M ANDREW CANNARSA, THANKS AND HAVE A GREAT DAY.




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