Can You Hear Me Now? Enough With The Robocalls
There are all sorts of grifters in the world.
Cheaters, swindlers, con men. People who engage in bribery to get their kids into prestigious colleges, thieves who say they’re going to pave your driveway, take your money and never come back. And unctuous time-share salesmen, who assure you that you can get out of their predatory contracts whenever you like.
Then there are the creeps who prey on the elderly. Surely there’s a special ring in Hell for them.
Like the robocalling hairballs who pretend to be from the Social Security Administration. They threaten folks with a loss of their benefits unless they give them personal information.
They’re looking for social security numbers, of course. Date of birth, full name, middle initial and bank account information.
With that, accounts are emptied, credit cards opened and the finances of those on fixed incomes are wrecked.
On Dec. 27, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission issued a warning about this particular scam:
“In 2017 we heard from 3,200 people about SSA imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. So far THIS year: more than 35,000 people have reported the scam, and they tell us they’ve lost $10 million.”
Ten million bucks.
I get calls all day on my cell phone from people trying to sell me stuff. I usually hang up and immediately block the number.
Last week, on two different days, I received calls from 800 numbers purporting to be from the Social Security Administration. When I blocked 800-205-2833 I got a call back with an identical message from 800-205-7695.
Here, listen for yourself.
I laughed, of course. Saved the message so I could report it.
But then I started thinking. There is nothing funny about this message. What if an 85-year-old widow living on Social Security answered her phone and heard this? Would she laugh? Or would she panic, punch the buttons, give the freak on the other end of the line - in Russia or India or wherever - all of her personal information, worried sick that she wouldn’t get her check that month?
Robocalls are more than just a nuisance. They defraud unsuspecting, innocent people. And with 3.7 million complaints to the FTC last year, they’re also causing us to waste government resources tracking down these crooks.
Finally, Congress appears ready to act with bill that will hold telecom companies responsible for authenticating callers.
Pass the damn law. Enough with the robocalls.