A reader has a question about some sketchy phone calls:

“Hi Cyn, I have a question. Lately, instead of getting phising in my email, I think I’m getting them as phone calls. Most of the time, when they leave a voicemail, the message is cut off so its just call this number which I never do. Today the voice mail had something to do with my Social Security number is fraudulent. I’m not going to call them back but I wondered if other people have gotten calls like this. I would think that SS is like IRS and will never call you like that.”

You are certainly not alone. Almost everyone gets calls like that. Sometimes dozens of them a day. In fact, it is estimated that half of all phone calls received in the U.S. are robocalls just like that. Most of them are scams. They operate exactly the same way as email and Internet phishing scams.

Government imposter scams are big over the phone as well. And you are right on target to say that the Social Security Administration, IRS, or any other government agency isn’t going to call you like that. Neither will law enforcement or the CDC with an important announcement about Coronavirus.

If, for any reason, you think a government agency might actually be calling you, do not pick up the phone. Do not call the number they give you. Look up the number for that agency separately or contact them online. Then you can check to see if anyone really wants to contact you.  Good catch!