Frauds & Scams

The Federal Communications Commission Helps Consumers Avoid Scam Calls

June 20, 2019 • By

Last Updated: June 20, 2019

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

Chief, Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

Comments

  1. Patricia C.

    I received a call from an individual by the name of Jennifer Write #817J3009 and she said she was a special agent with the Social Security department and that my ss number was used to open accounts for laundering money and drugs…no matter how many times I told her that I would contact SS myself she called and included a police officer in on the call…a total of 15 calls kept coming. When the police officer told me to take the funds from my checking and savings accounts and give them to the special agent and they would give me a certified check and I was to open a new account….with that being said I hung up again, the officer called me back and said that I was running from the problem, I again hung up and that was the end of the calls. These are some of the numbers of the calls….813-780-0050 (3 calls), 510-328-6092 (10 calls). They had my full name, my cell phone number and my address. I am 74 years old I have a bad heart and I am in treatment for stage 4 cancer of the liver…they scared me!

    • Luis A.

      Thank you for letting us know about these calls, Patricia. We do not usually make random calls. If you or anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams here. We hope this helps.

  2. Mary

    Thanks for your efforts. I’ve been getting calls that seem to go back to portfolio about some debt I don’t owe. Because I’m a senior, the stress of it all is taking its toll on me. I’ve blocked them from two non identifying numbers. Only the search traces back to them. I don’t know if it’s spoofed. I just know all my bills are paid. They don’t leave a message and they haven’t sent any documentation. Surely it can’t be real. I don’t have old unpaid bills. Imagine being a senior and worrying that someone is going to clean you out over a bill that doesn’t exist or that you should even have to go to court over something so foolish. The calls make one wonder how you would survive if. I know I couldn’t. Please stop that place from bothering seniors.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Mary. Thanks for checking in with us. We do not usually make random calls. If anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams, here. We hope this helps.

  3. Austin W.

    315-514-3134

    Please, I keep getting scam calls from this number. When I call back they claim to be the social security administration which I highly doubt.

    If you can do anything about this fraudulent behavior I would appreciate it.

  4. MARY W.

    I receive calls and no one answers when I answer. When I dial the callback number, I get a message that the number is no longer in service. How is it possible for someone to call me on a phone that is no longer in service? Why would they bother to call me when they don’t want to talk to me or try to sell me something? A person is not on the line. I hear nothing–no breathing or clicking to disconnect call–just silence. Once I got a recording that said, “good-bye.” It makes no sense to receive these calls. I have researched the phone numbers and found that they belong to people I don’t know and who don’t know me. Most were not in service. I called numbers that were in service and the people don’t know anything about calling me for any reason. What are these calls? They are obviously computer generated using phone numbers from unsuspecting people. How to stop them? They are always from a different phone number, so blocking phone numbers won’t stop them.

  5. Sandra Z.

    ‭+1 (888) 606-2255‬ Called to say my social security number was suspended, what is this?

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Sandra. Thanks for checking in with us. We do not usually make random calls. If anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams, here. We hope this helps.

  6. Beth S.

    3 phone calls saying they have suspended my benefits.
    8:55 am from 844-626-1212
    9:34 am from 844-933-0462
    10:44 am from 844-025-2417

    • Luis A.

      Thank you for checking in with us, Beth. We do not usually make random calls. If anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams, here. If you suspect someone is using your Social Security number, you should go to http://www.idtheft.gov and report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission or call 1-877-IDTHEFT (1-877-438-4338). In addition, you can order free credit reports annually from the three major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans Union). To order your credit report go to http://www.annualcreditreport.com or call 1-877-322-8228. For more information, check out our publication, Identity Theft And Your Social Security Number. We hope this helps

  7. Marian

    I received a message on my cell phone on Saturday, July 13, 2019 at 12:46 PM from 646-583-1319 telling me my Social Security Number was being suspended due to “suspicious activity” and that I should press “1” for information on my case. Clearly, this is a scam, and of course I did not press 1. But I will be calling on Monday morning to make sure my Social Security number is OK. What can we do to stop and penalize these scammers?

    • Luis A.

      Hello Marian. Thank you for letting us know about these calls. We do not usually make random calls. If you or anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams here. We hope this helps.

  8. Janice f.

    I have started receiving these calls recently.

  9. teresa o.

    my friend got a call from social security saying that his account had been hacked. they called from 872-484-7212. said they were from chicago, ill. this was on the 4th of july. is this a scam?

    • Luis A.

      Hi Teresa. Thank you for letting us know about these calls. We do not usually make random calls. If you or anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams here. We hope this helps.

  10. Jackson C.

    I just received a scam call from 410.413.7211 claiming to be a federal investigator looking into my social security account and they have identified a problem. They say they needed to be called back immediately to avoid problems.

    • Ann C.

      Hi, Jackson. Thanks for checking in with us. We do not usually make random calls. If anyone receives calls saying that they are from Social Security, do not give out any personal information. Suspicious calls should be reported to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams, here. We hope this helps.

Comments are closed.