Editor’s note: This is the second of three articles about the resurfacing of scams seeking personal information. In our next issue we will share information on reporting scams.
Scammers can sometimes simply seek an individual’s personal information, known as “phishing,” no doubt to use for identity theft.
Here’s an example. One person locally recently received a call from a person with a Middle Eastern accent claiming to be “Robinson” from “the investigating department of Social Security.” The caller told the target that her Social Security account had been suspended because “someone has used your Social with knowledge, without your consent, criminal activities, money laundering, drug trafficking.
“Theft of identity has been done, over your Social Security number. And we are now getting an order from courthouse to suspend your Social Security number.”
The caller, “Robinson,” went on to say that the target was not in any trouble. “Robinson” then proceeded to ask questions about whether the target had ever given out the Social Security number, lost a wallet, or otherwise could have let the number get into the wrong hands.
“No, I’ve never lost my wallet,” said the target, “but you have my Social Security number, right? Can you tell me what it is?”
“Robinson” was not amused, and attempted to retake control of the conversation. “Just answer me first,” he replied. “Don’t do that way to me, we have been permission. Everything is with us.”
After “Robinson” had accurately given the target’s correct name and ZIP code, the target again requested he relate her Social Security number.
“I just need to know you’re legitimate,” she said.
At that point “Robinson” hung up.