You may remember a story we featured a while back regarding the rise of annoying robocalls. In it, we mentioned the deceptive practice of "spoofing" -- when spam callers place calls from a legitimate phone number other than their own. Spoofing tricks consumers into answering the call because the number appears to be real or, often, even within the same area code. The Federal Trade Commission is now warning consumers to be aware of a spoofing scheme involving the Social Security Administration.
Spammers are using a Social Security Administration customer service phone number (800-772-1213) to trick consumers into revealing personal information. The incoming call will show an SSA phone number on caller ID, but the call can be coming from elsewhere. The caller will identify himself as a Social Security employee and then ask for information such as your social security number and possibly make threats to terminate your benefits if you do not cooperate.
These calls are happening all over the country and the FTC advises if you do get a call, to hang up immediately and call SSA back directly (800-772-1213 - yes, the same number, but when you dial it, you will get the right people). Also remember that an SSA employee would never threaten you for personal information. Don't forget to report the call by calling SSA’s Office of the Inspector General at 800-269-0271 or report it to the FTC.
These calls can come in on your cell phone or a landline.
For more tips about robocalls, read this article from Consumer Reports.