Live 5 Scambusters: Social Security is now the top target for government imposters

Live 5 Scambusters: Social Security is now the top target for government imposters
Pretending to be a government official is the top option for scam artists, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Pretending to be a government official is the top option for scam artists, according to new data from the Federal Trade Commission.

The FTC says it has received 1.3 million reports about government imposters since 2014. The Social Security imposter scam is blowing away other options as the top government imposter scam and it’s not even close. According to new data, the FTC received nearly 65 thousand reports of social security imposter scams in the first five months of 2019. That’s more than double Medicare, IRS, government grants, and law enforcement scams combined.

The robocalls vary but you may receive one like this:

VIDEO: Scam call1

“Your social security number has been compromised because we are getting some fraudulent and suspicious activities going on and it’s about to get suspended, press 1 to talk with investigating officer.”

Don’t press one, don’t return the call, and don’t lose $200 or more.

The FTC has a few suggestions to recognize these scams and protect yourself:

  • Be suspicious of any government agencies threatening you and asking for money.
  • Don't trust your caller ID. It may say the call is from Social Security -- but scammers can spoof the number to look like the call is from the real agency.
  • Never pay with a gift card. This is a sure sign of almost any scam.
  • Instead of pressing one or calling the number you’re given look up the agency’s real number and call it if you have questions.

If you get one of these phone calls, report it to the FTC here.

If you have a scam story to share, email Kyle Jordan at Scams@live5news.com.

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