“This is a call from the Social Security Administration Office. Your Social Security Number has been suspended due to suspicious activity” . -Cue panic and frantic actions.
The Mysterious Caller
Last week while I was sitting in my office, my phone began ringing repeatedly. I didn’t recognize the number, so I never answered the call. Following, I noticed that the mysterious caller left a voicemail.
I begin to to play the voicemail, expecting to have “won” one million dollars or a dream vacation.
I predicted the call correctly for the most part. The call did come from a scammer. The scary part though, they pretended to be from “Department of Social Security Administration”.
For someone like myself who works in security, I know when someone is attempting to scam me. But, other people without such a background might begin to panic if they were to receive a similar call.
Through this article, I hope to shed light on this new phishing attack method.
“Your Social Security Number has been Suspended”
To begin, let’s take a look at the voicemail transcript I received.
Thanks to the *almost accurate* voicemail transcript from Apple, my voicemail can be displayed above.
Basically, my mysterious caller / scammer posed as an employee of the “Social Security Administration. Their reason for calling was they suspended my social security number. Why? Because of “suspicious activity”.
Continuing, if I wanted to find out why or get more information I needed to call back or press one. I knew what would happen next.
Let’s say, for the sake of the article, I called the number back. Their next move would most likely be the scammers asking me for my SSN or enter it on my phone.
This is how so many people fall victim to phishing scams.
I knew from the beginning, but at that point I would have been completely certain that the call was fake an I could carry on with my day.
How do I know if the call is fake?
I consider myself lucky. Due to the fact that I have a degree in security which gives me the knowledge to differentiate between scams and the truth. And with this platform, I can help others as well.
So, now you may be wondering how to tell if the call is real or fake. Or even if you would actually ever get a call from the Social Security Department.
Here’s a few tips and tricks to remember if you ever get a call like this.
- The Social Security Administration will not block or suspended your number, ever
- If you don’t recognize the number, don’t pick up the call. If it is important, they will leave a message.
- Google the number. Most times, the number will come up on a scammer call list.
- You call call the SSA customer service line: 800-772-1213
- Report the call to the SSA’s Office of the Inspector General: 800-269-0271
- (via AARP)
In conclusion, I hope that through this article awareness is spread on this social security number scam. The main takeaway is simple. If you receive this call or a similar one, don’t panic. Take some time and think it over before taking action.
Because if it sounds like a scam, it probably is!
By Taylor Ritchey