Attorney General Ken Paxton today warned Texans to beware of calls from scam artists pretending to be with the Social Security Administration (SSA) and attempting to fool unsuspecting people into giving them their Social Security number and money.
Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) received a large number of complaints from consumers targeted by the Social Security scam. Crooks tell the would-be victim that their Social Security number has been used in a crime and they must pay a fee to reactivate it or to get a new number. During the call, the person is asked to give out their Social Security number.
In other instances of the scam, individuals are told that their bank accounts have been seized and they should transfer their money to the caller for safe keeping, or that they could lose their Social Security benefits because their Social Security number was used to apply for credit cards.
Attorney General Paxton’s Consumer Protection Division reminds Texans that the Social Security Administration will never call and ask for a person’s Social Security number, request money, or threaten someone’s benefits. Be sure to follow these tips from the FTC:
- 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 to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
- Don’t be fooled by caller ID showing the SSA’s real phone number (1-800-772-1213). Computers make it easy for scam artists to show any number on caller ID, a technique called spoofing.
- Remember that anyone who calls and tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card or send cash is a scammer, no matter who they say they are.
If you get an unsolicited call from someone who claims to be from the SSA, get off the phone. Then call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213. Or, if you’ve detected a scam, file an online complaint with the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint or with the Texas attorney general’s office at https://www.texasattorneygeneral.gov/cpd/file-a-consumer-complaint.