SEATTLE, April 10, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Tax season has historically been prime time for phone scammers as they look to take advantage of consumers who are afraid of the IRS, of being audited or the government's focus on them in general. With April 15th right around the corner, one would expect consumers to be inundated with IRS phone scams as in years past. In a surprising turn of events, Hiya has discovered that the IRS scam has actually declined in recent months, with the Social Security scam taking its place as the most prevalent during this year's tax season, surging more than 880% since last year.
The Social Security Scam targets unsuspecting citizens across the U.S., sometimes spoofing numbers to look like the Social Security Administration. These calls claim that due to fraudulent activity, a victim's social security number will be suspended until the call is returned to verify the account. Scammers will make multiple attempts to catch a victim's attention, using scare tactics as a final attempt. If victims do not call back, they threaten that a federal agent will be contacting them immediately.
Based on Hiya's analysis of more than 13 billion calls globally each month, Hiya's data shows that the IRS scam peaked in August of 2018, but has since decreased by 60%. However, just as the IRS scam started to decrease, the Social Security scam started to pick up steam. In fact, since just the beginning of the year, it has grown 40%, with a whopping 880% growth since this time last year.
"Scammers are constantly evolving their tactics and looking for new ways to target unsuspecting consumers. The rise of the Social Security scam is a perfect example of this, as many Americans have become aware of the IRS scam and are less likely to fall victim to it," said Alex Algard, Hiya Founder and CEO. "Hiya leverages real-time signals to identify new spam campaigns in minutes to ensure consumers are protected and informed about emerging scams."
According to the FTC, the scammers behind the Social Security Scam say they want you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, they'll say your bank account is about to be seized, and tell you to put money on gift cards and give them the code to keep it safe – which means that the money is gone.
Top Areas Affected by the Social Security Scam:
- (301) Maryland
- (218) Minnesota
- (619) San Diego, CA
- (312) Chicago. IL
- (714) Anaheim, CA
- (240) Maryland
- (480) Phoenix, AZ
- (303) Denver, CO
- (806) Amarillo, TX
- (702) Las Vegas, NV
How to Protect Yourself from the Social Security Scam
- The Social Security Administration will never request that you verify your social security number over the phone, without giving you advance notice about the call. If you receive a call about your Social Security being suspended and bank account being seized, it's a hoax.
- The SSA will never call threatening that your benefits are in jeopardy. They will never request you wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards.
- Despite your caller ID identifying a call to be the SSA, be aware that the official SSA number is 1-800-772-1213. If you receive a call from this number or someone claiming to be with Social Security but are unsure if you are speaking with an official SSA agent, hang-up immediately and call SSA directly at 1-800-772-1213 to confirm you are speaking with an official SSA agent.
- Never give out your Social Security number, bank account information, or personal identification to unexpected callers.
- If you have been a victim or have received a call similar to the SSA scam, report it to the FTC and FCC to help raise awareness.
Hiya is revolutionizing the way people make and receive phone calls. With a mission to provide a better phone experience, Hiya Caller and Business Profiles provide users with important context, giving them the right information at the right time. Through analysis of more than 13 billion calls per month, Hiya protects nearly 70 million users from unwanted robo and spam calls globally. Hiya is available as a consumer app on Google Android and iPhone and is integrated into the phone experience for AT&T Call Protect, T-Mobile Name ID, ZTE Axon 7 and Samsung Galaxy S7, Galaxy S8, Galaxy S9, the forthcoming Galaxy S10 and all A-Series and J-Series users worldwide. For more information, please visit www.hiya.com.