BBB Scam Spotlight: June 2019
Columbus, OH – Each year, one in four North American households are scammed. Because money loss and identity theft can happen to anyone, BBB encourages community members to protect and inform others by reporting any scam-related experiences to BBB’s Scam Tracker.
In June, Central Ohio consumers reported $6,218 lost to scams, and BBB serving Central Ohio received nine reports involving scammers claiming that there were issues with consumers Social Security Numbers.
BBB wants to shed a spotlight on some of the details of the SSN scams affecting our Central Ohio community:
A Reynoldsburg consumer was contacted by a scammer claiming their son was a victim of identity theft. The scammer went on to explain that someone in Texas was using the son’s identity to traffic drugs. The scammer said they would freeze the son’s bank account for 48 hours to issue him a new social security card but he had to get a $200 Walmart gift card and read them the number off of the back. BBB encourages consumers to confirm any suspicious information they receive by contacting the company or organization directly using a phone number obtained through a reliable source.
One consumer in Columbus received a voicemail from a scammer claiming to be with the Social Security Administration. The scammer told them that there had been “fraudulent activity” associated with their SSN and they would be “subject to prosecution” if they didn’t call them back. Several more consumers report receiving voicemails or automated phone calls from people claiming to be with the Social Security Administration stating that their SSN had been compromised and at risk of being cancelled.
Your BBB has the following tips to keep yourself and your SSN safe:
- Never give personal information to unsolicited callers. If someone contacts you without your permission, refuse to tell them any personal information.
- Remember, the Social Security Administration will never call you asking for your Social Security number. They will never ask you to pay anything, nor will they threaten your benefits.
- Your SSN cannot be revoked or frozen. If a caller threatens to freeze or revoke it, it’s a scam. Hang up immediately.
- Don’t trust your caller ID. The internet has made it possible for scammers to use fake IDs when they call your home. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.
- Contact the Social Security Administration. If you are concerned about a call you received from someone who claims to be with the SSA, you can call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
Since 1912, Better Business Bureau has been helping people find businesses, brands and charities they can trust. In 2018, people turned to BBB more than 130 million times for BBB Business Profiles on more than 5.2 million businesses and 11,000 Charity Reports, all available for free at bbb.org. There are local, independent BBBs across the United States, Canada and Mexico, including BBB Serving Central Ohio, which serves 21 counties.