Attorney General Jim Hood is warning Mississippians about an increase in fake calls in the state that appear to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA) and ask for a person’s Social Security number (SSN) and money.
The calls look like they are coming directly from the SSA because scammers have spoofed the SSA’s real number: 1-800-772-1213. In one version of the scam, the caller says your SSN has been linked to a crime (often, he says it happened in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. He then says your SSN is blocked, and he may ask you for a fee to reactivate it or get a new number. The caller will ask you to confirm your SSN over the phone.
In other variations of the scam, the caller says somebody used your SSN to apply for credit cards, and you could lose your benefits. He may also warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and that he will tell you how to keep it safe.
“These types of calls are nothing more than a scam. You should never give out your Social Security number to someone who contacts you because the Social Security Administration will not ask you for that information,” General Hood explained. “It is very sad that this scam is happening, especially during the holidays, so please tell those around you about this warning, particularly your loved ones who are elderly or disabled.”
Compared to two calls about this scam in September, the AG’s Consumer Protection Division received 30 calls last month and has already received 13 calls about the scam this month, as of December 19.
Here are important reminders:
· The SSA will never call and ask for your Social Security number. It won’t ask you to pay anything, and it won’t call to threaten your benefits.
· Your caller ID might show the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213), but that’s not the real SSA calling. Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID. You can’t trust what you see there.
· Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits, and don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
· Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. Always. No matter who they say they are.
If you’re worried about a call from someone who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone and then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778). If you need any additional informational, contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418 or 601-359-4230.