CHICAGO (WLS) -- The number one phone scam being reported to the Federal Trade Commission are threats that your social security number is being suspended or your benefits are ending. The FTC said there are reported losses of $17 million in just the first six months of 2019.
The robocalls sound like this: "There is a legal enforcement action filed on your social security number for criminal activity so when you get this message kindly return as soon as possible on our number that is 516...before we begin with a legal proceeding..."
MORE INFO FROM THE FTC: Government imposter scams top the list of reported frauds
The threatening calls, making you think your social security number and benefits at risk, are on the rise. One ABC7 Eyewitness news producer got a dozen in just one day.
"All your social benefits will be canceled until further clearance," another call said. "In case you feel this is due to an error you may connect with legal..."
Or you might be tricked into thinking your social security number is going away, as the calls claim "in case we did not hear from you, your social will be blocked permanently."
MORE INFO FROM THE FTC: Social Security is not trying to take your benefits
The FTC said it has 73,000 reports of complaints filed about social security impostors since January.
The scammers convince frightened victims to send money via wire transfer or gift cards. The con is that it's supposed to "re-activate" or "clear" a social security number from so-called "criminal activity."
The FTC advised to be suspicious of any call from a government agency asking for money or information, and never trust caller ID, which can be faked.
Government agencies will never ask you to wire money or pay for anything with a gift card. When in doubt hang up and check with the real agency.
Social Security scam robocalls top FTC phone scam reports, cost $17 million so far in 2019