3 ON YOUR SIDE (3TV) - Senior citizens are one of the most targeted groups around when it comes to scams. And now there seems to be an uptick in the number of scam calls seniors are getting, reportedly from the Social Security Administration that goes as follows:

"Verify the last four digits of your Social Security number when you call to better assist you with this issue. If I don't hear from you I will have to issue an arrest warrant under your name."

The call can be intimidating, and they trick many senior citizens into returning the scammers phone call.

They usually bait the person further by claiming their Social Security number is about to be suspended or that their Social Security checks will be stopped.

"The moment you get this message, I need you to get a hold of me on my department toll-free number at 888-952...," the message said.

The Federal Trade Commission reports that since January 2018, there have been more than 63,000 reports of the Social Security scam call.

Crooks have made off with more than $16 million from seniors who called back and divulged personal information.

The average loss for a senior citizen is right around $1,500.

"They're definitely making people feel threatened," Felicia Thompson said.

Thompson is with the Phoenix Better Business Bureau.

Her organization has seen an increase in complaints regarding the scam calls and continue to track them on a daily basis.

3 On Your Side has also received a spike in the number of concerned viewers asking if the calls are legitimate.

Remember, they're not because the Social Security Administration will not call you.

"If they do need to correspond with you, it's very likely they're going to send you a letter versus making a phone call and they want to actually let the consumer know they that they don't make those threatening calls that these scammers are pretending to do," Thompson said.

The scammers usually threaten people with arrest warrants or say they're Social Security checks will be stopped if they don't call back. Just remember, it's all a ploy to get you to call back and dupe you out of money.

More helpful links:

Contact the Office of the Inspector General to report the scam

Getting calls from the SSA?

Phishing: Don't take the bait

Fraud Advisory from the Office of the Inspector General


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