I don’t know about you, but I am fed up with robocalls, especially threatening and scam robocalls.
Being on the government’s Do Not Call list (DNC) is a joke. It is absolutely a waste of time and money. While I am on this rant, let’s add the DNC list’s manager, Federal Trade Commission, as another financial money pit.
For years, I have received robocalls telling me this is the last time I will be offered a car warranty. The last time was about the 24th last time. Then there are the threatening calls.
You know the one supposedly from the IRS claiming an arrest warrant for your failure to pay back taxes. They even throw in that the local sheriff’s deputies will be serving that federal warrant. Sure they will.
Then there is the alleged call from the Social Security Administration that your social security number will be frozen and your banking account seized because your social security number has been compromised or used by someone else. Or the call saying you Medicare has been suspended.
Before I go one with my tirade, let me assure you that neither the IRS nor the Social Security Administration calls anyone, let alone call and threaten. Of course calling them is another issue as they never answer and I have personally been cut off four times calling Social Security after holding for more than ten minutes each time. And that was just in a one-hour period on one day.
My thought is if they are too busy with customers to answer calls, they sure don’t have time to call and threaten. When you call a recorded voice tells you how important my call is and various ways to access my account online.
Actually, I was calling for the Yard Sale Queen’s 85-year-old father, who doesn’t have a computer and probably wouldn’t know how to turn one on, if he did own one.
To add insult, the Social Security Administration warns that another individual, even with permission, cannot create an online account on behalf of a person. So you are caught in a Catch-22 of unanswered or dropped phone calls. Efficient, huh?
I know some of you are asking about going to the local Social Security office. Now that is a fun experience trying to wedge a large 85-year-old man into a small car, with his wheel chair and then take a number and wait and wait.
But back to the more pressing warning.
A relative of the Yard Sale Queen received a phone call purportedly from an investigator with the Social Security Administration. The unsuspecting teen was told that his social security number had been used in Texas by a person arrested with 22 pounds of cocaine. The fake investigator provided a name and badge number as “proof” that the call was legitimate.
The con artist cajoled the teen into providing his social security number to verify the supposed dope peddler used his social security number. Then the crook got the teen to reveal his full name, date of birth and address.
The naïve teen, like most kids, doesn’t watch the news or read newspapers. He wasn’t aware of the scam. He was very scared.
The con artist then convinced the teen to clean out his bank account and purchase eBay gift cards so that the social security number wouldn’t be frozen and bank account seized.
While on the phone with the crook, teen withdrew the entire $500 from his account that he saved as tuition to attend a trade school. These crooks have no conscience.
The teen, who was confused and visibility upset, called me for advice.
We reported the scam to the Orange County Sheriff’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, Social Security Inspector General and all three credit reporting firms. Unfortunately, nothing will happen.
The teen learned a valuable but expensive lesson.
These slick crooks prey on young and elderly alike as well as people who don’t follow the news.
My suggestion is simple: Don’t answer the phone if you don’t recognize the number or the caller isn’t in your contacts. If an unknown caller knows you and really wants to hear from you, they will leave a voicemail.
Meanwhile, the teen must start saving again so that he can go to trade school.