In a report yesterday, KY3 News and scam target Allison Holden exposed yet another way senior scammers are contacting victims and posing as law enforcement or Social Security officials in order to extort sensitive information.
Holden received a suspicious text message from an individual claiming to be “Officer Jason Green from Social Security Administration Department of USA.”
…The Social Security Administration Department of USA? Seriously?
Luckily, Holden picked up on this bizarre moniker immediately and refused to respond to the scammer. Unfortunately, she’d been the victim of a financial scam before, something she believes makes her a continued target for phishers and con artists.
“Officer Green” claimed Holden’s Social Security number was “suspended” and offered a return phone number for Holden to reach out for more information.
Since Holden trusted her gut and failed to respond to the scammer’s attempt, we don’t know what would have been said to her or what kind of information the scammer wanted to get.
Like many phony Social Security agent schemes before it, we can assume the scammer would have used scare tactics to get Holden to give her name, address, date of birth, Social Security number, bank account or card numbers, or possibly the personal information of close relatives for the purpose of “verification.” These are the kinds of facts an identity thief would need to know to collect your Social Security benefits, file your tax return, or apply for credit in your name.
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the total havoc a scammer could wreak once he has this information.
But no matter how convincing or frightening the text may be, it’s a fact: the Social Security Administration, its agents, and its “officers” conduct important business through the mail almost exclusively. It’s highly unusual that an SSA employee will contact you by phone–even then, it will NEVER be via an informal, unsecure text message.
The best thing you can do if you receive a text message like this from someone claiming to have or need information regarding your Social Security–no matter who he says he is–is ignore it completely and report it to the REAL Social Security Administration.