The Newest Phone Scam

No doubt, you have gotten scam phone calls from people claiming to be with the IRS and other agencies.  Now, the latest scam.  The New York Times reports:

Move over, Internal Revenue Service. Criminals now prefer the Social Security Administration as their cover agency when they try to swindle Americans over the phone.

The I.R.S. has long been a popular choice for telephone scammers, who call pretending to be federal tax representatives to extract money, personal information or both from consumers.

But federal authorities say they have seen fraudulent calls from Social Security Administration impostors “skyrocket” over the past year, overtaking the fake I.R.S. calls.

“In the shady world of government impostors,” the Federal Trade Commission said in a report in April, “the S.S.A. scam may be the new I.R.S. scam.”

How big is the problem? The Times reported:

People filed over 76,000 reports about Social Security impostors in the 12 months ending in March, with reported losses of $19 million, according to the F.T.C., which investigates consumer fraud. About 36,000 of the complaints and $6.7 million of the losses were reported in February and March.

Bottom line:  The IRS and Social Security will not call you. Period. Ignore those calls.

Just last month, Gail S. Ennis, the inspector general of Social Security, warned of fake calls that appeared on caller ID to be from the office’s fraud hotline (1-800-269-0271).

If you’re unsure whether the call was a fake, call the agency directly — using a phone number you’ve checked independently, not one given to you by the caller. The Social Security Administration’s main number is 1-800-772-1213.

You should also report fraudulent calls. You can report them to the inspector general by calling the hotline number or going online.

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