ATLANTA (FOX 5 Atlanta) - Your phone. That's the door scammers use now to talk you out of your money. And with the success of the fake IRS calls, they've now turned to faking calls about your social security number.
Here's how the scammers start. According to the social security administration, they spoof the administration's customer service number, which means they make it look like it's really an official call. Then the game begins, 'It's urgent,' the caller says. 'Your social security number has been suspended.' In order to get out of this jam, they tell you that you need to hand over a lot of personal information.
College student Tamara Cockfield answered her phone. That's how it all started.
"Hi, this is Susan Palmer from the head of social security. This is a notice. Your social security number has been suspended. Please contact the emergency hotline number," the computer-generated voice says.
This is a taped social security scam call. We got it from the Georgia consumer protection division. They have a lot of them.
"Your social security number has been suspended. Please contact your emergency helpline number."
Tamara's call was similar. And it was scary.
"They said suspicous money laundering overseas. They said if I wasn't cooperating, there was an arrest warrant out for me. Of course, adolescent 21-year-old, I freaked out. I just went with it and I did everything they told me," she said.
This scam caller wanted the last four digits of her social security number. He wanted to know information from her driver's license. And they wanted to know how much money she had in her bank accounts. She told them everything.
"They said for us to dispute the actual arrest warrant, we will have to transfer you over to your local police department. They spoofed that number as well, so I thought I was talking to the department."
Finally, she sent her sister a text despite being warned by the caller not to do that.
"They were saying, 'Tamara, if you're talking to your family, you can put them in danger.'"
Her sister got her text: SOS. She came to the rescue. Her big sister told her it was a scam, to hang up and to get busy protecting herself. The college senior went straight to her bank. She changed every password she had, put a freeze on her credit and reported what happened to her to the FTC who has a warning on its website about this scam.
"Yep. Yep. It can happen to anyone," she said she was happy to tell her story.