The Better Business Bureau (BBB) of Southern Piedmont and Western NC is warning consumers about a series of scam phone calls that have been flooding the region.
According to a voicemail left for an Asheville resident, the message is coming from the Department of Social Security Administration (SSA). In the voicemail, the SSA imposter says that the consumer’s Social Security number has been suspended due to suspicious activity in a different state. They are encouraged to return the call at 202-932-5334 (a scam phone number).
“We regularly receive reports of scams similar to this one. However, due to the volume of complaints we have received recently, we are taking the opportunity to remind consumers everywhere: Never send money or personal information to people you don’t know,” said Julie Goodwin, Regional Director of the BBB Serving Western NC. “Had consumers responded to these voicemails or phone calls, we suspect that the perpetrators would have encouraged the victims to either make a payment to recover their Social Security number, provide personal information to remove the alleged freeze, or both,” added Goodwin.
The phone calls local residents have received are coming from various phone numbers, including out-of-state phone numbers and from “Unknown” callers. If you receive a phone call similar to this one, write down any information the caller provides you with, hang up, and contact the SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213. If you think it might be a scam, or think you may have been a victim, report it to BBB’s Scam Tracker.
Remember, the SSA will never call you asking for your Social Security number. They will never ask you to pay anything, nor will they threaten your benefits.
Don’t trust your caller ID. The internet has made it possible for scammers to use fake IDs when they call your home. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.