Hang up, that’s not Social Security calling to threaten you

INDIAN LAND, S.C. — Pat Morosky told Action 9′s Jason Stoogenke a person pretending to be with the Social Security Administration called her and said, “You have been charged with criminal activity and your Social Security account has now been compromised.”

A lot of the callers say that your Social Security number is tied to a crime in Texas, involving drugs, blood, and a vehicle. It’s unclear why the scammers came up with that storyline.

“It was very intimidating,” Morosky said. “You just don’t know who’s out there, who’s going to come after you and try to get whatever may be yours.”

Fortunately, she didn’t fall for it.

“A friend of mine told me that I should call your station and advise you of this and maybe bring it to the attention of people who are unaware that they can very easily be intimidated into giving information that they shouldn’t,” she told Stoogenke.

But a lot of people did fall for it.

The Federal Trade Commission says, last year, the top scam was government imposter scams. And, of those scams, the most common was scammers pretending to be with Social Security (even more than the IRS).

According to the FTC, Social Security imposters tricked people out of a combined $22 million last year and that the average victim lost more than $1,850.

The FTC says, nationally, almost 64,000 people fell victim to the con last year -- that’s like every person who lives in Matthews falling victim, twice.

On Wednesday, Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul said the most important thing the agency is doing to stop these criminals is educating the public.

“I’m deeply troubled that crooks are still deceiving Americans,” he said. “We are working with organizations like AARP, plus government agencies like FTC, FBI, DOD, USPS, and motor vehicle associations to help spread the word using traditional marketing methods and social media.”

You can’t stop the scammers, but you can avoid them.

Remember:

  • Social Security will never call to threaten you
  • It’ll never ask you to wire money or pay with gift cards
  • It won’t suspend your SSN

If you really think you’re in trouble, hang up and call the right number. Don’t trust your Caller ID.