Social Security imposter scam calls have turned into the most common scam of 2020. According to a recent ElderWatch survey over half of adults in Colorado have received this scam attempt. During the call the scammer tells their potential victim that their Social Security number was associated with a crime and it has been suspended. They often scare their victim by threatening arrest if they don’t provide personal information or pay up.
If you receive an unsolicited call from someone claiming to be with Social Security or another government entity such as the IRS or Medicare, it is a scam. If the call seems legitimate and you are still unsure if it is a scam, the following are some red flags of typical government imposter scams:
- The caller is aggressive, threatening or offensive
- They require payment via wire transfer, Bitcoin, peer-to-peer app or prepaid gift card
- They inquire about bank account information
- You are expected to act immediately
- They threaten to involve local authorities or judges to have you arrested
- You are asked to keep the transaction a secret from friends and family
- They ask you to verify information that you would expect them to already know (Social Security number, address, birthday, etc.)
If you receive a call from a government imposter, hang up right away. If you are still unsure, hang up and call the entity yourself. You can reach Social Security at 800-772-1213. If you have questions about scam calls from government imposters call an AARP ElderWatch volunteer specialist at 800-222-4444, option 2.