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'I'd be surprised if folks didn't get a fake call from the social security office, so watch out'

The BBB warns of more calls that could cost you a lot of money if you don't know how the scam works.

COVID-19 slowed down a lot of things. How often we went to eat out, how many times we were getting our hair cut, the amount of time shopping for clothes in person. It also slowed down the number of scam calls. Yes, the pandemic even slowed down the number of illegal scam calls….for a while.

The Better Business Bureau says complaints about the fake IRS call dropped 89% from 2018 to 2019 as people got wise to the con. But scam artists are focused on the Social Security Administration.

Robocall example: "This call is regarding your social security number.   We found some fraudulent activity under your name."

Machel Anderson received a similar call and followed instructions to talk to a representative. The caller claimed her social security number had been compromised.  In January she told lawmakers on capitol hill what happened.

"This man told me my family was in danger and ss number being used by a powerful drug cartel and they would be watching my every move and to protect our money I needed to transfer it to a safe offshore account," said Anderson.

She wired more than $150,000 to Hong Kong before realizing she’d been scammed.

"Social security does not just call you like that, social security numbers are never suspended," added Steve Baker of the Better Business Bureau.

Baker is an investigator with the BBB.  A report from the organization says complaints about these calls jumped 410% in 2019.

"I'd be surprised if most people don't get a call from somebody pretending to be social security in the next couple of months, you really have to watch out," said Baker.

Don’t miss this: scammers can also spoof phone calls so they appear to be from the social security agency. Just because your caller ID says it is SSA, doesn’t mean it really is.

It’s always a scam if:

The caller asks for any kind of payment through a wire transfer or gift cards.

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