Social Security imposter calls are now the top phone scam in the U.S., making up nearly 10% of all consumer phone complaints registered in BeenVerified’s Spam Call Complaint Monitor. The report, which analyzed more than 200,000 phone calls from 2016 – 2019, noted that Social Security scam calls have skyrocketed in 2019, a 23-fold increase over the same period in 2018.
“Despite tougher government regulations, robocall-blocking technology and increased consumer awareness, phone scam calls are being reported at a higher frequency than any year since 2016,” said Justin Lavelle, Communications Director with BeenVerified, a leading public data company that offers reverse phone lookup tools to consumers. “Our report shows how callers have adapted their tactics to keep ahead of the roadblocks in front of them.”
Among the key findings, the BeenVerified Phone Spam Complaint Monitor showed complaints about Social Security-related phone scams skyrocketed in 2019, displacing IRS tax scam calls, which topped the list in 2018 as the most common type of reported scam call.
BeenVerified’s report also revealed the top five phone complaints for the first half of 2019:
1. Social Security scams
2. IRS/tax scams
3. Credit card offers
4. Debt-related calls
5. Free offers and giveaways
Along with the rise of Social Security scam calls are new tactics from fraudsters. These include “number spoofing,” with callers purporting to call from Washington, D.C., and local area codes, along with a tendency to leave threatening voicemails impersonating government agents.
The report details a number of variants of the new Social Security scam call, along with actionable tips for consumers to better avoid being ensnared by it.
“These callers overwhelmingly rely on fear tactics to pressure victims into sending them money,” said Mr. Lavelle. “The best way to avoid being caught up in a phone scam is to continue to treat unknown callers with heightened caution. No government agency will call or leave a voicemail threatening you with jail time or demanding immediate payments. If you encounter such a call, hang up.”
BeenVerified’s Spam Call Complaint Monitor can be accessed here: https://www.beenverified.com/data-analysis/phone-scams-report/
BeenVerified is a leading public records data company helping consumers discover, understand and use public data in their everyday lives. The brand empowers users with access to background checks, address lookup services, reverse phone and email lookup tools and more through its website BeenVerified.com and iOS and Android mobile app BeenVerified Background Check. Visit the company online at BeenVerified.com and follow BeenVerified on social media: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.