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Community Manager

Ask The Expert: Get your questions about fraud answered

Have you or a loved one been a target of an impostor scam? Savvy scammers can pose as government officials, a romantic interest, or even a grandchild.

 

AARP Fraud Expert Amy Nofziger is here now thru February 29 to answer your questions about protecting yourself, family and friends from impostor scams. Post below for your chance to have your questions answered or share your experiences. 

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AARP Expert

@MARKR900I use it on my home phone and it really has cut down my calls as well. Thanks for sharing the tip with the group.

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Contributor

Yes, I've used nomorobo.com for years and have learned to not react to the first ring of the phone.  There seems to be less of those type calls (blasts?) and more and more of the spoofing my local phone exchange numbers.  Hopefully some genius will come up with a way to identify these callers and prosecute them.

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Periodic Contributor

I agree. Also watch out for putting into your mothered last name on these things. That's usually what they would ask for An account If you forget your password. But I'm just an older person who is older and wiser, not your internet AARP person 

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Periodic Contributor

#RobDuncan48-- I believe your calling the number back could be dangerous. I was talking to our cell phone provider and he said that scammers are getting very sophisticated . If you call back the number, even if no one answers. Your number and all your info(though I wasn't clear on this) could actually be taken off your phone. I believe it pertains to cell phones where you would have your contacts and cell phone company information , stolen RIGHT OVER THE PHONE !! He said he knew scammers were working on doing this with land lines also. Please be careful, please.
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AARP Expert

Hi everyone, glad to be joining you for the next two weeks. I hope we can share information about new scams happening in your community and the best ways you have to protect yourself.

 

I'll kick it off with a question, how many of you have received the social security impostor scam call? What were some red flags you recognized that helped you know it was a scam call?

 

Amy

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Periodic Contributor

let it go to Voice Mail/Answering maching.  If it is a legit. call they will leave a ph. # and message.  Washington, DC area code is 202 - (I retired from Fed gov. in DC).  Northern Virginia (DC suburbs is 703) .  MD suburbs are 301.  They have added some new area codes, but govt. agencies will probably have those above.  Most of Fed. govt is in DC (202).  NIH is in MD.

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Newbie

I know when a call or email suposidly from Social Security is a fraud. The phone numbrs are not a 800 number and the email is not through .gov

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AARP Expert

@DonnaS687331Exactly! Great tips to check the url/email where it's coming from, plus the SSA will never call you unsolicited, they will send something in the mail first. Great fraud fighting tips!

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Newbie

Call received indicating my SS number has been compromised and will be suspended immediately. I should call 619 332 5263 immediately.

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AARP Expert

@edjaScam, scam, scam. As you are aware, this is the most popular government impostor scam happening right now. The SSA will never suspend your SSN and certainly won't ever call you and threaten arrests unless you pay with pre-paid gift cards.

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Periodic Contributor

Call the real SS phone number. That number could be fake. I'm just a person not fraud protection but don't call a phone number just because they say it's SS. Lots of fraud out there. If it's fake they will tell you to verify your SS and then they rob it!

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Newbie

Yes

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Contributor

I’ve received four.

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Bronze Conversationalist

I received a call saying they were from social security both on my landline and on my cell phone.  On the cell phone I knew it was a scam because only two people have that phone number, my son and my husband.   I hung up the phone. More recently I received a call on my landline.  The voice was in a monotone.  I'd just read the article on AARP about the Social Security calls, so I immediately slammed the phone.  Nothing since then. 

 

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AARP Expert

@ip3285This is such a popular scam right now and you did the right thing, hang up! Please help keep others safe by sharing this scam with your friends and family.

For those not familiar with this scam, here is some helpful information and red flags!

https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/social-security.html

 

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AARP Expert

Happy Tuesday everyone!

I'm located in Colorado and we got a bunch of snow last night and it's cold! This got me thinking about how the utility shut-off scam pops up during the winter months. Have you received this call or heard of it? It's when someone calls you pretending to be from your utility company stating you haven't paid your bill and they will shut off your heat! Pretty scary call, especially for those in parts of the country that are extremely cold and they can't risk having their heat shut off.

 

What advice would you share for those who get this call?

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Periodic Contributor

Omg !  Won't they won't do!

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Periodic Contributor

Can that be trusted?
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Periodic Contributor

I again am just an older person here but also was worried about online interviews. They want you birthday which doesn't seem right or legal. And more personal info. Can that be trusted?
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Periodic Contributor

yeah, I got a call from my gas utility - saying I was late in paying my bill (I have an answering machine and never answer calls unless I know who is calling).  Since I had paid my bill, I checked my account online and the bill had been paid and the balance was 0.  I knew it was a scam call.  I am tired that I had to waste time to protect myself.  I hope the Federal legislation deals with robo call scams.

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Contributor

Great point! It gets my goat that I'm paying for my phone but I have to put up with these annoying and useless calls coming through on it, and wasting my time! Lately I've been getting calls that start with a letter followed by 19 numbers. Of course I don't answer it, but it's a real intrusion.

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Periodic Contributor

Wasting our precious minutes!

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Periodic Contributor

I almost think the phone provider, who charges you for emails sent to you even if you don't respond to them are in some agreement ( in cahoots) with these robots. Also get charged for voicemail. 

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AARP Expert

@RobDuncan48Great tips on how to check your account online. Thanks for sharing!

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Periodic Contributor

Hi Amy, The last 3 days, my husband and I have gotten 3 IRS calls. One a day. It's a recording that is crackly and only part of it comes through.  It says, in part " Please call this number(and it gives a number) back immediatly. Before we suspend your S.S. number. I repeat, please call immediatly, blah blah.. The voice sounds "tough". But what cracks us up is the end of the message--"Thank you and GOD Bless you"

Well, if you were to be arrested or have your SS number suspended, we don't think they wuod say God Bless you.

Not sure to whom we report this to. The police?

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AARP Expert

@Kath5761  Thank you for sharing your experience and you are exactly right, it's a scam! The social security impostor scam is the #1 most reported government impostor scam right now and it's stealing from hundreds of thousands of people. You can report it to the Fraud Watch Network Helpline at 1-877-908-3360 or go on to the scam tracking map at aarp.org/fraudwatchnetwork. It's also important to share this with friends and family to let them know that the government will never call you unsolicited and threaten you with arrest if you don't pay and they certainly will NEVER ask for payment in gift cards, wire transfer or bitcoin.

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Contributor

The IRS does not call.
Strong foreign accent with poor grammar
Threats of warrants being issued, police coming to arrest me
Saying I can pay it off now.
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Newbie

I had 5 calls from the same number just like this (foreign accent, warning me about legal consequences if I don't call back).  These were 2/22/20 through 2/24/20.

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AARP Expert

@KarenH592465I wonder if this was the social security impostor scam call. They are still the most popular scam call right now. However, what is coming up close in #2 spot is the Amazon Impostor scam call or email. It's where they tell you someone has charged fraudulently to your Amazon account and you need to either allow them access into your account to fix it or charge up money on your credit card to avoid anymore charges. Amazon will never contact you this way! These scammers are good, they know how many of us use Amazon and they are casting a wide net. I actually just got the call myself and they say "oh yes, ma'am, this is the real Amazon and we are worried about your account."

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AARP Expert

@lw1165 

Great information!

The government does not call us unsolicated and they certainly will not take gift cards as payment. Gift cards should be used as GIFTS for family and friends. But since they are virtually untraceable and available in every drug store and grocery stores, scammers LOVE them! If anyone asks you to pay this way, it's a scam!

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