Residents get scam phone calls about ‘deactivated’ Social Security cards


Staff writer

At least two Rossmoor residents have been called on the phone by a man claiming their Social Security cards had been “deactivated,” and asked to call back and provide more personal information – calls a Walnut Creek police lieutenant said are part of a scam.

Louise Daum says she’s received three or four such calls, the most recent one on June 11. They came both on her home’s landline and on her cell phone.

“The man said my Social Security card had been deactivated, and to call a certain number back” to resolve the matter, Daum said. She did not return any of the calls.

Another Rossmoor resident, who didn’t want to give her name, said she received a very similar call at her home on Sunday, June 8; the call went to voice mail. The caller said he was with the Social Security Administration, and that her card had been “discontinued” because of unspecified “suspicious activity.”

That woman returned the CALLS: Crooks try scam about Social Security cards

call out of curiosity, she said. A man answered, and when the woman asked him to spell his name for her, he hung up.

Walnut Creek police Lt. Tom Cashion says there are several reasons to believe this was a scam. The IRS does not “deactivate” Social Security cards, he said, and that agency’s normal method of contact is a letter in the mail with a phone number to call them.

Cashion said the best advice is to not respond to such calls, and to never give out personal information. Anyone who feels compelled to go further with such a caller, he said, can ask for a callback number and do some research before calling them back (or not calling).

Another way to determine whether a call is from a scammer or telemarketer, Cashion said, is to answer the phone and say “hello” twice, which can help root out robocalls. Robotic calling systems typically dial several numbers at a time, he said, and respond to the first one that’s answered. It then takes a second or two for that call to transfer to a live “caller;’ that delay, Cashion said, is usually a giveaway the call is from a scammer or telemarketer.

“If (anyone) has never experienced a situation like this in the past, they should automatically assume a scam at first and evaluate it from there,” said Cashion, adding that anyone in doubt should call the police, a friend or family members for more specific advice.

June 18, 2019