MIAMI (CBSMiami) – A phone scam involving social security numbers, that has been around for the last couple of years, is making the rounds again.

It begins when the person gets a phone call and is told that their Social Security Number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity or it’s been involved in a crime.

This scam is sometimes executed via robocall, the recording provides a number for you to call to remedy the problem.

Sometimes, the scammer wants their target to confirm their SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, they’ll say the target’s bank account is about to be seized, To keep their money safe, the target is told withdraw it, buy gift cards and then call back so the codes on the back of the cards can be recorded. Once those codes are turned over, however, the scammer has access to all the funds on the cards.

Another thing to consider is the target’s caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

Here’s what to know, according to the Federal Trade Commission:

  • Except in rare circumstances, you will not get a call from Social Security unless you have already been in contact with the agency.
  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
  • SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.
  • The real SSA number is 1-800-772-1213, but scammers are putting that number in the caller ID. If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Or your bank account or credit card number.

If you get one of these calls, tell the FTC.

The FTC said that scam took in $17 million in its peak year. This Social Security call scam is already up to $19 million for the year ending March 31, according to CBS News.

The best advice for what to do when someone calls from out of the blue and says they are with Social Security is to hang up.

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