INDIANA — When you receive a call or e-mail from a scammer, there is one thing they are digging for: information.
Information can range from a full name, e-mail address, bank information, a credit card number and other personal descriptions.
One of the most coveted pieces of information is a personal social security number, the number that links your identity to who you are on paper. With a social security number, an identity thief can access everything from your financial accounts to profiting off of your medical benefits. The terrifying issue with getting a social security number compromised is that these numbers are rarely ever changed, in comparison to credit card numbers.
Unfortunately, gaining your social security information can be as simple as a phone call and Better Business Bureau (BBB) has recently seen a rise in social security scams in northern Indiana.
“There’s somebody calling pretending to be an officer from the Social Security Administration,” said one northern Indiana resident. “The number they are giving is (859) 960-4874 and they’re talking with a heavy European kind of accent.”
Reports include callers claiming to be from the Social Security Administration often stating that there has been a problem. Scammers rely on the use of intimidation, the need for immediate action based on what could put you in jeopardy.
Two additional northern Indiana residents that BBB spoke with stated they also received a call from the same phone number. However, the premise and name of the caller differed. In one call, the caller referred to himself as “Robert William” and stated he would be canceling the woman’s social security number. Whereas another local denizen received a call from “Daniel McCarthy” who informed her of her imminent arrest and threatened to confiscate her bank account.
According to BBB’s 2017 Scam Tracker Annual Risk Report, 23 percent of money lost was due to an interaction over the phone. The U.S. Government was rated number 2 of the Top 15 Organizations used for Impersonation.
Scammers may also place the blame on a glitch, a computer malfunction or system crash that deleted information. Never resort to giving out your personal information over the phone until you have verified the person on the other end of the line. Even something as simple as a birth date or mother’s maiden name could help them gain deeper access into the verification of your personal data.
If you are unsure about a caller claiming to be an SSA employee, hang up and call their toll-free number at (800) 772-1213 to verify the issue. Report the description of the call to BBB’s Scam Tracker to help assist others who may fall victim to the same call.