Fraud

The Federal Communications Commission Helps Consumers Avoid Scam Calls

June 20, 2019 • By

You know those robocalls from scammers that you keep getting on your phones? We get them at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), too.

Scammers use a technique known as spoofing to mask their caller ID on your phone and disguise their identities to steal valuable personal information, including your bank account passwords and Social Security number. In one recent case, the toll-free number of the FCC’s Consumer Center was used to disguise the actual incoming call number.

We’ve alerted the public to the problem and have taken measures to prevent this from happening again. We’re aware that the same thing happens with Social Security’s phone number. Some callers may pressure you for personal information or immediate payment; others offer deals that seem too good to be true. The number of calls is daunting, but we are taking action to turn the tide against spoofed robocalls.

The first line of defense is consumer awareness. The FCC provides guidance about spoofing scams and robocalls, including consumer resources for call-blocking apps and other services. We also post timely articles on the FCC Consumer Help Center website to alert you to the latest scams and amplify consumer warnings from Social Security and other government agencies. Consumers can keep track of these alerts by following @FCC on Twitter.

We recommend the following tips to avoid becoming a victim of a call scam:

  • Don’t answer calls from numbers you don’t recognize.
  • If the caller is not who you were expecting, hang up immediately.
  • Never give out personal information such as account numbers, passwords, Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden names, or other identifying information if a call seems suspicious.

In its continuing efforts to help stifle malicious phone scams, the FCC empowered phone companies to aggressively block by default unwanted and illegal robocalls before they reach consumers.

It’s all about safeguarding the American public. We’ll continue to partner with Social Security, the Federal Trade Commission, and other federal agencies to get the job done.

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About the Author

Patrick Webre, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Patrick Webre, Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Comments

Please review our Comment Policy before leaving a comment.

  1. Lisa Carroll

    I had someone lady call me from Michigan no. And unknown no. Claiming she wantd to help me see if I qualify for disability she the first call I said no thank you and hung up the second asked was i 65 or older I said no the 2nd ? I forgot anwered no then she asked was I on medicareviv said well you should know the answer to that question it made my me upset and I asked to take my name off list
    Thank you
    Lisa Carroll
    434-637-0602

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Hi Lisa. Thank you for checking in with us. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  2. Cheryll Clary

    I received a call regarding my social security number being compromised in Texas and I live in Tennessee and they would send court officers to my house .
    Me knowing that this a scam I waited for a person to come on the phone and he stated that is is with Social Security Administration which I know was untrue.

    I told him that they need to stop scamming folks and I hung up.
    The phone number is 424-645-3750 is probably a masked number.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Cheryll. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
  3. Cheryll Clark

    I received a call regarding my social security number being compromised in Texas and I live in Tennessee and they would send court officers to my house .
    Me knowing that this a scam I waited for a person to come on the phone and he stated that is is with Social Security Administration which I know
    The phone number is 424-645-3750 is probably a masked number.

    Reply
  4. Patricia Watts Wolff

    Good day. I received a phone call from 254-319-6553. And they said they where the SSC office and that they had Suspended my SS number because there was a active on my number . Please tell what I have to do.

    Thank you
    Patricia Watts Wolff.

    Reply
    • Vonda VanTil, Public Affairs Specialist

      Thanks for letting us know, Patricia. Generally, we will only contact you if you have requested a call or have ongoing business with us. Recently, scams—misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments to avoid arrest for Social Security number problems—have skyrocketed. Our employees will never threaten you for information or promise a benefit in exchange for personal information or money.

      If you receive a suspicious call like this: 1) Hang up. 2) Do not provide personal information, money, or retail gift cards. 3) Report suspicious calls here. For more information on how to protect yourself, check out our Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this helps.

      Reply
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    Reply
  6. Cheryl GRIFFIN

    I received a call yesterday I answered it because I was expecting another call the car was a recording said that my name and number Social Security number was being used and it was very important that I find out what was going on so it told me to press one so I press 1 the man the man said there was a warrant out for me and my social security number was being used and in in San Antonio and it was being used on South border and in my name and it was being used in a car in the car had blood in it and cocaine and a warrant was under my name and my social security a number was going to be suspended in the treasury Department and I needed to get in touch with the u.s. Marshal to cancel the warrant and signed a bails bondsman bondsman to do it and it was going to cost me $299 I could either do that or let them come and arrest me and if I cancel the warrant they will come to my house and reissue me a social security number I hung up the phone I just got that amount of information because this is the third time these people have called me the phone number they call me from what’s 443-880-4994 and they the man who called me said his name was officer Fanny Gray his badge number was 455 – 5320 the case number was DMC – 701 the warrant number was 5375 3 0 there was a house in San Antonio that the stuff was being done from and there was nine credit card and there were several Banks Wells Fargo Bank of America and I don’t remember the other two Banks all of these credit cards was in my name I know that’s not true because I don’t I’m not even able to get a credit card now they said I could get the $299 and put it on Google Play

    Reply

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