A new variant of an old scam seems to have recently resurfaced, so here is a heads up:
Over the past two days I have received multiple phone calls from scammers, who, when I did not answer the calls, left a voicemail with only their phone number and a message to call back, but, who, when I answered their calls, purported to be the Social Security Administration (SSA), telling me with an automated message that my Social Security Number had been compromised, and that I should call the SSA to get more information and to learn how to address the issue. Of course, the number that they left me at which I was to call the SSA back does not belong to the SSA – it belongs to the scammers, who then request that callers identify and authenticate themselves by providing various personal information.
Scams in which criminals impersonate the Social Security Administration are not new – but, the recent calls were a bit more sophisticated than those placed to me in the past: The scammers used a recording that sounded professional and that employed perfect American English, did not say that my Social Security Number was “suspended” (earlier scammers often did this – which was a clear giveaway since Social Security Numbers are never suspended), and they did not threaten or attempt to scare me into action, seemingly impersonating SSA representatives (who would presumably never threaten or pressure a caller) far better than did their forebears. In short, the call sounded far more genuine then any others that I have previously received.
Any time that someone receives a message that his or her Social Security Number has been compromised – especially if the message appears to have come from the SSA – there may be some level of temptation to look into the matter. To anyone who recently experienced credit card fraud or some form of identity theft, or to anyone with a close friend of relative who recently experienced such, the temptation may even seem irresistible. Do not fall for the scam. Even if the caller’s Caller ID says “Social Security Administration” or shows the SSA’s real phone number, never follow the instructions of someone who calls you, and then asks for potentially sensitive information.
If you do receive a call that your Social Security Number was compromised (whatever that means), it did not come from the SSA. The SSA does not make such calls.
But, if you feel that you must look into the matter anyway, ignore the caller, and just call the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213, the official phone number listed on its Contact Social Security By Phone web page.