Fake Social Security claims are the most frequently used phone scam

Social Security impostor scams on the rise

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - There are a plethora of active scams that target unsuspecting people, and many of them start with a simple phone call.

Pretending to be a government official is the most popular ruse scammers utilize, according to data from the Federal Trade Commission. Since 2014, the FTC has taken 1.3 million reports of government impostors, far outpacing other types of scam.

The calls typically start by saying something such as a Social Security number has been compromised or is associated with fraudulent activity. Then the call prompts the victim to speak with someone about the problem.

Another popular tactic is a robocall that provides a call back number.

Both are scams, and the FTC said it received 65,000 reports of Social Security impostors just in the first five months of this year.

To protect yourself from these scams, be suspicious of anyone claiming to be from a government agency asking you for money. And don’t trust your caller ID. Just because the call looks like its coming from a reputable location doesn’t mean that it is. Scammers can make the real number appear on your ID even though the call doesn’t come from there.

Never pay for anything with a gift card. That is a sure sign of almost any scam.

If you have questions, look up the purported agency’s number, call it yourself and speak to someone about the call you received.

Reporting the call to the FTC helps agents track the calls and patterns of the scammers.

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