More scams to watch out for

More scams to watch out for

In our last blog post, we talked about a client who had been contacted by a scammer. Her story involved a “call from the Social Security Administration,” claiming her “social security number had been canceled on suspicion of fraudulent activity.”

None of that was true. First, the SSA does not “cancel” social security numbers. Second, data from the Federal Trade Commission notes that this type of scam call has spiked in the past several months.

Other common calls include “you’ve won a large amount of money, but you need to pay us before you’ll receive it,” and individuals who set up fake customer service websites, claiming to be from well-known companies. If you own product XYZ and you call for tech support, and the person you talk to say they can’t help you unless you wire them money or send them gift cards- this too- is a scam.

A third scam we recently learned of is a utility scam.

“Judy” is currently caring for a sick family member who lives in Mexico. Since she plans to return to the US by the end of the year, she kept her US cell phone number.

“Last week I got a missed call from a number I didn’t recognize. I then received an automated voicemail message from the ‘local gas and electric company’, saying my account was delinquent and at risk of being shut off for non-payment. Since I don’t have any utilities in my name- in either country, I called back because I wanted to let them know they had a wrong number and they should try to contact the correct customer.”

When she called back, she was routed to a phone tree that seemed legitimate. She pressed 4 to speak with a customer service representative. When her call was answered, the operator had an extraordinarily strong foreign accent.

“I explained the situation, but he wasn’t having it. He became verbally aggressive and threatened to turn off my service unless I provided him with additional information,” she said. “When I shouted, for the third time, that I don’t live in the US and I don’t have any utilities in my name, he slammed the phone down in my ear.”

The moral of this story is that scammers continue to be out in full force. If you or someone you care for thinks they have been targeted by scammers, do not…we repeat… do not give out any personal information over the phone.

For more information about recent phone scams, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.