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Old 01-13-2020, 02:23 PM
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Does the Social Security Administration suspend people's SS #'s?


I just got a robocall claiming to be from the Social Security Administration claiming that, due to "suspicious activity", my SS # has been 'suspended', but helpfully added that I could press 1 for more information.

I hit 1 and was connected to a heavily-accented fellow who said he needed my name before we could proceed. I was suspicious and did not want to tell him anything, and asked if I could just call the SS admin back at a better time.

Sure! Then he called me by my first name and explained that I had to call the office in El Paso, TX because that is where the suspicious activity occurred.

Yeah, in El Paso and also over my phone. Why would I need to contact a local office? Isn't SS a federal program? Anyway, my question for the dope is: is suspending someone's SS # for reasons like this even a thing? I have never heard of it, but don't want to neglect myself into more problems if this actually turns out to be legit.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:25 PM
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Oh, please.
Of course it’s a scam.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:26 PM
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HAHAHAHAHAHA. No.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:34 PM
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I've gotten a bunch of these calls. It's total nonsense.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:35 PM
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2004 Toyota Corolla, southern border of The Taxas, blood stains, drug residue, 22 lbs of cocaine, rented under your nayme and social, arres waran pepper coming at your door, need to buy gift cards from (Walmart, Best Buy, Target, etc) to have the warrant canceled.

Look up scambaiting on Youtube for a metric shitload of videos. IRS, Social Security, Microsoft refund/tech support.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:38 PM
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The straight dope from the Federal Trade Commission.
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/20...suspended-ever

Quote:
Thing is, Social Security numbers do not get suspended. This is just a variation of a government imposter scam that’s after your SSN, bank account number, or other personal information.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:39 PM
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:48 PM
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If your social was suspended, what would it even matter?

Now, if someone else is using it, that can be a problem. but it's not a problem that's going to get you, the rightful user of that number, into any trouble.
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Old 01-13-2020, 02:54 PM
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If your social was suspended, what would it even matter?

Now, if someone else is using it, that can be a problem. but it's not a problem that's going to get you, the rightful user of that number, into any trouble.
The way the scam goes is the caller claims that not only will your SSN be suspended but all bank accounts will be frozen so they track down the real culprit (there's also a claim of numerous bank accounts wiring 100s of thousands of dollars everywhere), you need to withdraw all your money, buy gift cards ("Safety locker"), give them the numbers to register your money and the next day, officials will arrive with your new SSN and a cashiers check for the full amount you "registered". Needless to say, your money is long gone.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:07 PM
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The straight dope from the Federal Trade Commission.
https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/blog/20...suspended-ever
Quote:
Social Security numbers do not get suspended.
My father's was. But we had to send in a copy of his death certificate, and return the las check they had sent.

Tell that phone caller you'll send in a copy of your death certificate as soon as it's available.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:36 PM
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My father's was. But we had to send in a copy of his death certificate, and return the las check they had sent.

...
Are you sure it was suspended? I think he changed his name to Pedro on his 105th birthday and went to work at the Hormel Meat Plant.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:48 PM
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Thanks for the answers, folks. The question probably makes me look a little dumb, but better safe than sorry, and the dope really is the best place for something like this.

Ok, who wants to buy a Gwenneth Paltow's vagina scented candle?
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:50 PM
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Ok, who wants to buy a Gwenneth Paltow's vagina scented candle?
So, does it specifically smell like Ms. Paltrow's vagina?

I'd be interested, but I'm broke, as I just bought a bunch of Apple gift cards to pay the IRS, since they had called the cops to come get me.
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:54 PM
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That's how it's advertised is all I can say. It might be a scam too, but the kind where you really do end up with an ostensibly vagina scented candle at the end. And who among us hasn't been there?
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Old 01-13-2020, 03:57 PM
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The SSA (and the IRS) will never contact you by phone. If they have any business with you, they will communicate with you by letter. If you get such a phone call, don't answer it. If they leave a voicemail, delete it.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:09 PM
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Mine has been cancelled several times. Also, some guy has video of me masturbating and is going to send them to my entire contact list if I don't send him something called bitecones (something like that).

And the police are going to knock down my door any moment if I don't buy the "Federal Revenue Office" a bunch of gift cards.

I should never have gotten out of bed this morning.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:15 PM
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I'd like to contact those hackers too, buy their tech. Apparently they have videos of several people in our firm, even though they are on a Terminal server with no audio or camera services.
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Old 01-13-2020, 04:35 PM
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If your social was suspended, what would it even matter?
IF it was suspended, wouldn't that make it difficult to get your Social Security payments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
The SSA (and the IRS) will never contact you by phone. If they have any business with you, they will communicate with you by letter. If you get such a phone call, don't answer it. If they leave a voicemail, delete it.
Besides isn't someone tipping you off that the PD/sheriff/FBI/etc. are on their way to arrest you, giving you time to flee illegal in many places?
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:25 PM
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I'd like to contact those hackers too, buy their tech. Apparently they have videos of several people in our firm, even though they are on a Terminal server with no audio or camera services.
Not as good as they claim. I asked a Windows company caller once what OS I was running and he hung up on me.
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:41 PM
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Mine has been cancelled several times. Also, some guy has video of me masturbating and is going to send them to my entire contact list if I don't send him something called bitecones (something like that).
For a scam like that, I think it is something like bitcojones...
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:43 PM
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Ok, who wants to buy a Gwenneth Paltow's vagina scented candle?
"You should never hold a candle if you don't know where it's been." - Ian Dury
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Old 01-13-2020, 05:48 PM
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I just got a robocall...

Any call not initiated by a real person is a scam. I never answer the phone, and if a voice mail is a robocall, I just delete. And these fucks can't even leave a proper message, they always start before the beep, so you only get half the message, indicating that it's a poorly run scam. Free money form Nigerian princes is more believable than these scams.
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Old 01-13-2020, 07:12 PM
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Even if you half way think it's an iffy call, google it. Nearly all these scams have been going on so long there are all kinds of articles online documenting them.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:01 PM
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I just got a robocall...

Any call not initiated by a real person is a scam. I never answer the phone, and if a voice mail is a robocall, I just delete. And these fucks can't even leave a proper message, they always start before the beep, so you only get half the message, indicating that it's a poorly run scam.
I tend to answer them...& immediately hang up. For the BS ones, it's less effort to do that then get into VM & delete it, & if it's something remotely legit (ie. headhunter), they'll call back. If the same # calls right back they tend to be legit; however, whether they're wanted or not is a different issue.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:25 PM
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I am still amazed that people will answer a call from an unknown number.

I put as many people's numbers into my contact list as I can. If you are not in my contact list, maybe you know someone who is, call them and when I see their identity, I will answer the call. Desperate, almost dead, bleeding out and do not know who to call, but you remember my number and call it from a strange phone.

You probably dead soon.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:58 PM
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I am still amazed that people will answer a call from an unknown number.
Caller-ID costs extra on our landline. Unknown callers rate immediate hangups.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:29 AM
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I still have an archaic anachronistic land-line. (Remember those?) And an answering mochine. No voice-mail, and no caller ID (which can be spoofed beyond all usefulness anyway).

I just let the answering mochine take all my calls. If someone starts talking and I hear the message and it's someone I want to hear from then I answer it. I know, it's so last-century.

I do get certain robocalls that are of interest. My mail-order pharmacy, for example, robocalls me when a prescription has been mailed. What's interesting is that it can somehow recognize that I have an answering mochine, and waits until the beep to leave its message. That seems awfully clever.

OTOH, I also get more calls than I would expect, often sounding rather ominous, from debt-collectors. They are ALWAYS looking for someone other than me. They are usually robo, and usually don't wait for the beep. They do seem, AFAICT, to be legitimate aside from having the wrong number and aside from sometimes being kinda nasty.

Mostly I ignore them, and sometimes I'll get the same call repeatedly over a period of several days. When that happens, I sometimes call them back to tell them they have the wrong number. In those cases, they have always been polite and apologetic and promise to take my number off their list, and I never hear from them again. That is why I think they are actually legit.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:39 AM
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OP, wait a minute. You say he asked your name, but then he called you by name.

Did he also ask what your SSN is?

From your conversation with him, as far as it went, what information about you did it seem he already has, and what information was he asking that he didn't already have?

Did he tell you the number of the SS office in El Paso to call back? (If so, it was certainly a bogus number.) Or did he leave it for you to look up yourself (in which case, that's of no use to the scammer)?

Did he ask for information other than you name and SSN? You bank account numbers? Your mother's maiden name? Your birthday?
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:25 AM
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They had my phone #, they know I can press 1 and my first name. That was it. He didn't have the chance to ask any more questions. He stressed calling back the El Paso branch but did not leave a number. I don't like being called during the day and make it quick no matter what, even if it is my gf. Heck, I cancelled Direct TV largely because they would not. stop. calling. me!

Last edited by Try2B Comprehensive; 01-14-2020 at 09:26 AM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:08 AM
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I didn't even know Social Security had a telephone.
They do send messages by mail though, some so stupid they seem like scams. On my son's 18th birthday, they mailed us instructions to return any of his earlier SocSec that had been saved instead of spent, along with any interest or capital gains if the funds had been invested, so that they could decide how best to turn those funds over to my son!

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OP, wait a minute. You say he asked your name, but then he called you by name.
Maybe the call was legit. Such calls usually begin with questions the guy already knows the answers to. (The IRS once led with "What is your birthday?" I said truthfully as the agent should have already known "It's today!" The agent: "Don't get smart with me.")
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:13 AM
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I didn't even know Social Security had a telephone.
They do send messages by mail though, some so stupid they seem like scams. On my son's 18th birthday, they mailed us instructions to return any of his earlier SocSec that had been saved instead of spent, along with any interest or capital gains if the funds had been invested, so that they could decide how best to turn those funds over to my son!



Maybe the call was legit. Such calls usually begin with questions the guy already knows the answers to. (The IRS once led with "What is your birthday?" I said truthfully as the agent should have already known "It's today!" The agent: "Don't get smart with me.")
SS only calls if it's part of an ongoing discussion. Never from out of the blue.
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Old 01-14-2020, 11:43 AM
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I did a little SS thing last year. The person on my case definitely called me and left a message. Phone tag ensued.

This "The SSA and the IRS never contact you by phone." is NOT helpful. They do in some cases. Note that there's are lines on the 1040 for a phone numbers of 3rd party preparer or paid preparer. If you're one of those, they might call. That isn't there for giggles.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:00 PM
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This "The SSA and the IRS never contact you by phone." is NOT helpful. They do in some cases. Note that there's are lines on the 1040 for a phone numbers of 3rd party preparer or paid preparer. If you're one of those, they might call. That isn't there for giggles.
True, but it seems like the IRS does not initiate contact by phone. Mrs. Charming and Rested went through an IRS audit for her father last year. The IRS started the audit by mail and requested written submissions from my father-in-law. The addresses to which we submitted the documents matched addresses for the IRS offices that you can confirm readily on the IRS website. My father-in-law listed Mrs. Charming and Rested as an alternate contact on all his submissions but the IRS, to my recollection, the IRS basically never called. The auditors also didn't provide their phone numbers. If Mrs. Charming and Rested wanted to talk with them, she would call the taxpayer assistance line. Someone would either answer or call her back. It would not be the person who was actually performing the audit, however, and the person returning the call usually didn't have great information about what the auditor was thinking,

(The good news is we cleared everything up with no deficiency or penalty. It all started when Bank of America misclassified a trustee-to-trustee IRA rollover as a distribution. Grrr.)
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:56 PM
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I did a little SS thing last year. The person on my case definitely called me and left a message. Phone tag ensued.

This "The SSA and the IRS never contact you by phone." is NOT helpful. They do in some cases. Note that there's are lines on the 1040 for a phone numbers of 3rd party preparer or paid preparer. If you're one of those, they might call. That isn't there for giggles.
As running coach noted, however, they will not cold call you. They will only call as a follow-up to any communication initiated by mail.
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Old 01-14-2020, 12:59 PM
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I tend to answer them...& immediately hang up. For the BS ones, it's less effort to do that then get into VM & delete it, & if it's something remotely legit (ie. headhunter), they'll call back. If the same # calls right back they tend to be legit; however, whether they're wanted or not is a different issue.
I have an answering machine built into my landline phone and voice mail as backup. The vast majority of calls which get through NoMoRobo hang up once they hear the beep (we had a thread on this a while ago) so I don't even have to erase a message.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:36 PM
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Mine has been cancelled several times. Also, some guy has video of me masturbating and is going to send them to my entire contact list if I don't send him something called bitecones (something like that).

And the police are going to knock down my door any moment if I don't buy the "Federal Revenue Office" a bunch of gift cards.
Just don't get confused by all the instructions and send the IRS a video of you masturbating.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:54 PM
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I am still amazed that people will answer a call from an unknown number.
Because it might be the Police & Firefighters Association. When they ask for a donation, I yell "No! A policeman shot my Pa!"

I never get tired of that.
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Old 01-14-2020, 03:58 PM
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As running coach noted, however, they will not cold call you. They will only call as a follow-up to any communication initiated by mail.
That is not the same as "never", however.

Too many people get into absolutes nowadays.
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Old 01-14-2020, 04:54 PM
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Another scam we're seeing locally is someone coming to your door who is supposedly representing an energy saving organization that can help you reduce your utility bills. It's always a fairly personable young man or woman, often a minority, who tries to play on your liberal tendencies to want to save the environment in order to extract personal information from you. It's a variation on the "help fund our school trip by subscribing to all these magazines" scam. I just ran one of them off a couple of days ago.
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Old 01-14-2020, 05:19 PM
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That is not the same as "never", however.

Too many people get into absolutes nowadays.
Yes, that's typical of the Dope.

OK, they will never call you out of the blue and threaten you. Is that good enough for you?

Last edited by cochrane; 01-14-2020 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:28 PM
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Another scam we're seeing locally is someone coming to your door who is supposedly representing an energy saving organization that can help you reduce your utility bills. It's always a fairly personable young man or woman, often a minority, who tries to play on your liberal tendencies to want to save the environment in order to extract personal information from you. It's a variation on the "help fund our school trip by subscribing to all these magazines" scam. I just ran one of them off a couple of days ago.
I've posted one or two rants about these people. They come to your door saying they're from "the electric company" (they never say an actual company name). They insist on seeing your latest electric bill to "see if you're being overcharged". The reality is that they're trying to trick you into changing your electric provider.

They are extremely persistent and act as if they have some legal right to see your bill. I've had to threaten to call the police to get them to leave.

The environmental thing is a new angle. I've haven't seen them try that yet.
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Old 01-14-2020, 09:44 PM
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I've posted one or two rants about these people. They come to your door saying they're from "the electric company" (they never say an actual company name). They insist on seeing your latest electric bill to "see if you're being overcharged". The reality is that they're trying to trick you into changing your electric provider.
I live in California, so I figure I'm safe from this scam. If some person comes to enough doors with a spiel that might make people think they're from PG&E, they will surely have the snot beaten out of them at some point.
Or set on fire.
We don't like PG&E very much around here.
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Old 01-14-2020, 10:50 PM
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Another scam we're seeing locally is someone coming to your door...
The only unexpected people coming to our door these last two decades were two pair of religious solicitors some years apart. Pumas likely got the rest. Mountain life is good. Folks living neck-to-neck in urbs and suburbs don't appreciate wild carnivores.

How to avoid landline and cell spam? Never answer; only take messages; return calls worthy of your effort and hope the recipients don't follow your strategy.
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Old 01-15-2020, 12:51 AM
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If you simply refuse to answer an incoming call when you don't recognize the caller's number, that seems potentially troublesome. What, you never get a call from a stranger occasionally that is legitimate and maybe even interesting or important to you?

I have occasionally. Not often, to be sure.

Example: I got a call once from someone that I didn't know (at the time), but knew of only vaguely and only by his first name. He was the caretaker at a property that was being prepared for a recreational event, and he had an issue that had to be dealt with. I don't have caller ID, but if I did, I would certainly not have known his number.

He began leaving a rather longish message, beginning with his name (which I didn't recognize). But it became clear that the lengthy message was important for me and for many others too. I wasn't the right person for him to call, but he didn't have contact information for all the right people, and he had somehow gotten my phone number, and it was rather urgent, needing resolution by the following day.

In the middle of all that, I answered. Once I understood what he wanted, I was able to get him connected up with all the right people.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:33 AM
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If you simply refuse to answer an incoming call when you don't recognize the caller's number, that seems potentially troublesome. What, you never get a call from a stranger occasionally that is legitimate and maybe even interesting or important to you?

I have occasionally. Not often, to be sure.

Example: I got a call once from someone that I didn't know (at the time), but knew of only vaguely and only by his first name. He was the caretaker at a property that was being prepared for a recreational event, and he had an issue that had to be dealt with. I don't have caller ID, but if I did, I would certainly not have known his number.

He began leaving a rather longish message, beginning with his name (which I didn't recognize). But it became clear that the lengthy message was important for me and for many others too. I wasn't the right person for him to call, but he didn't have contact information for all the right people, and he had somehow gotten my phone number, and it was rather urgent, needing resolution by the following day.

In the middle of all that, I answered. Once I understood what he wanted, I was able to get him connected up with all the right people.
Then they'll leave a voicemail if it's that important.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:29 PM
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I get calls during the day for work and won't always recognize the number, so ignoring calls isn't much of an option.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:38 PM
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Chefguy is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Portlandia
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Originally Posted by davidm View Post
I've posted one or two rants about these people. They come to your door saying they're from "the electric company" (they never say an actual company name). They insist on seeing your latest electric bill to "see if you're being overcharged". The reality is that they're trying to trick you into changing your electric provider.

They are extremely persistent and act as if they have some legal right to see your bill. I've had to threaten to call the police to get them to leave.

The environmental thing is a new angle. I've haven't seen them try that yet.
What annoys me is that we have a 'no solicitors' sign prominently displayed. If you ignore my wishes, do you really think I'm going to be receptive to your pitch? I've also had religious types tell me, after being made aware of the sign, "Oh, I'm not selling anything!" Of course you are, dear.
  #48  
Old 01-15-2020, 02:06 PM
DrDeth is offline
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Location: San Jose
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Originally Posted by cochrane View Post
The SSA (and the IRS) will never contact you by phone. If they have any business with you, they will communicate with you by letter. If you get such a phone call, don't answer it. If they leave a voicemail, delete it.
They will call you only after you have called them or they have sent letters.

So, a collection attempt by a revenue Officer will be along the lines of "letter, firm letter, threatening letter, call, personal home or business visit." One of the letters will be sent certified.
  #49  
Old 01-15-2020, 03:17 PM
Anny Middon is online now
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Originally Posted by DrDeth View Post
They will call you only after you have called them or they have sent letters.
Not necessarily.

I signed up (online, I think) to start receiving my SS benefits. This would have been 4 years ago.

A few weeks later, having never spoken with or received a letter from SSA, I started to get phone calls where the caller ID read "Federal Government." Since I had gotten IRS scam calls, I ignored them. However they kept calling, so I finally answered one day.

It of course was SSA. I forget what they wanted, but it was benign enough I felt comfortable providing the info over the phone. When business was concluded, I told them they needed to change their caller ID info. The man sighed and told me that they'd like to, but the red tape involved in doing so was horrendous enough that so far they'd been unsuccessful in getting it approved.

I also suggested that they leave a message with a callback number. That he said was not allowed for privacy reasons.
  #50  
Old 01-15-2020, 03:42 PM
TimfromNapa is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Try2B Comprehensive View Post
I just got a robocall claiming to be from the Social Security Administration claiming that, due to "suspicious activity", my SS # has been 'suspended', but helpfully added that I could press 1 for more information.

I hit 1 and was connected to a heavily-accented fellow who said he needed my name before we could proceed. I was suspicious and did not want to tell him anything, and asked if I could just call the SS admin back at a better time.

Sure! Then he called me by my first name and explained that I had to call the office in El Paso, TX because that is where the suspicious activity occurred.

Yeah, in El Paso and also over my phone. Why would I need to contact a local office? Isn't SS a federal program? Anyway, my question for the dope is: is suspending someone's SS # for reasons like this even a thing? I have never heard of it, but don't want to neglect myself into more problems if this actually turns out to be legit.
Social Security, the IRS, and Microsoft all have one thing in common: They will never call you.
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