The Goldendale Sentinel - Headlines & History since 1879

By Lou Marzeles

Hello, this is the Department of Stupid Scams


Did you get a call from the Department of Stupid Scams?

Well, that's not what they say when they call. They say they're calling from the Department of Social Security Administration (major spoiler: there's no such entity), and they're intent is to make you very socially insecure. They want you so scared, you'll share your most financially sensitive information with them.

The real Social Security is just called the Social Security Administration (no "department" in front of it), and communication from that office occurs via mail, not through out-of-the-blue telephone calls.

The number the scammers are using most often is (760) 475-5615. It's a robocall, and it says, with a tone of dire authority in its little robotic voice, "We're calling to let you know we are suspending your Social Security account due to suspicious activity." Their hope is that your reaction will be one of astonished alarm and that you will take immediate action to correct the matter.

That, of course, begins with answering them when they ask you to confirm your Social Security number. At least one quick-thinking scam buster responded by saying, "You called me-why don't you confirm my Social Security number?"

What's a scammer to do? Times are tough for those who don't work for a living and resort to becoming a telephone blood-sucking leech. It requires greater creativity, not to mention technological skill. It's a gotta-have-a-gimmick world out there.

This particular scam is out in full force these days. Calls are coming to home and office phones, land lines everywhere, and a lot of cell phone numbers.

You could try calling them back, and when they answer, tell them you're an FBI agent who's very worried about a breach in your Social Security account. Or maybe just let someone who's really in law enforcement know about it.


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