There's a new scam making the rounds, and it's a particularly nasty one involving your social security number. Here's how it works:
You may get a robocall seemingly from the government, claiming that there's a problem with your Social Security number. The call also states that your account has been flagged for suspected fraudulent activity.
You'll be given a number with instructions to call back and speak to a government agent in order to get help resolving the issue and prevent your arrest.
Needless to say, given the importance of your Social Security number and the looming threat of legal action and possible arrest, a significant percentage of people will call back. They will be desperate to resolve the matter quickly before things escalate.
Of course, the reality is that Social Security numbers cannot be suspended. This is merely the hook this breed of scammers are using to get people to call them and get help resolving an issue that doesn't actually exist.
If you make the mistake of calling back, you'll be pressured for your name, date of birth, and banking information. In addition to those of course, you will be asked to verify your Social Security number for security purposes. Essentially then, those who get roped into this scam wind up giving the person on the other end of the line everything they need to steal their identity and empty their bank account.
While anyone of any age can be targeted by the scam, it seems to be impacting older Americans in disproportionate numbers, which makes this group of scammers even more despicable than most.
As ever, vigilance is the key to staying safe. If you get a call like this, don't call back at all. If you feel tempted, don't call the number you get via the robocall. Rather, look up the number of your local Social Security office and begin your inquiry there. In short order, you'll confirm for yourself and your own peace of mind that there is indeed nothing to it.