Susan Tompor: How to avoid the Social Security scam that makes you out to be a criminal

Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Business News

Maybe con artists are inspired by the movie "The Mule" where Clint Eastwood plays an octogenarian who hauls cocaine shipments in a Lincoln pickup for a Mexican cartel.

Maybe it's all the political haggling over "The Wall" where President Donald Trump and his supporters want to beef up border security by creating a barrier along the U.S.-Mexico border to combat drug traffickers.

Maybe it's the El Chapo drug trial in New York.

But here's a new scam alert: Consumers are getting alarming phone calls from someone who claims to be from law enforcement or Social Security and then scares you into thinking that your Social Security number has been connected to running drugs and money laundering across the border.

The scam tries to convince you that your Social Security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity or because it's connected to a serious crime.

In some cases, your caller ID may show the real SSA phone number -- 800-772-1213 -- when the scammers call. But again, the con artists are able to spoof this number and make it look more legitimate.


It's not really Social Security calling.

The scam isn't just targeting seniors. "It's happening to everyone and they are targeting all ages," said Amy Nofziger, AARP fraud expert. "They're definitely casting a wider net to see if they can get anything."

That's why it's important to reach out to millennials and teens, as well, when talking to family members about this scam.

The drug bust angle is relatively new but it does have a ring of truth to it. After all, many times you hear that law enforcement discovers Social Security cards and stacks of counterfeit checks as part of some drug bust.


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