LIFE

Scammer Texts Teen Her Social Security Number, Then Tries To Blackmail Her

by Emerald Pellot
Emerald Pellot graduated summa cum laude from New York University with a degree in Writing & Popular Culture. She worked as Senior Editor of College Candy for 2 years, covering feminism, popular culture, and college life before joining LittleThings in 2015. Based in New York City, Emerald covers a wide range of topics from human interest pieces to celebrity news.

The Better Business Bureau is warning about a new scam after a teenager in Jacksonville, Florida, received disturbing texts from a stranger.

Mikkayla Holiday received texts that were so shocking the 18-year-old jumped out of her bed.

“I heard my phone ding, so I looked at it and it had my social security number — and it said, ‘Oh your Social Security number popped up in our system,’” Mikkayla said.

The scammer said he was “Mario from MasterCard.” He claimed to have her birthday. Then he sent a screenshot that included her address, phone number, social security number, and email.

Then Mario threatened her.

“They said they need $295 or else or else they would leak my information out to the public,” Mikkayla said. “I started breaking down crying because I was so scared — because I’ve had people steal my identity when I was living in Alaska. They stole everything.”

She decided to report the the scam to the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office. Shannon Nelson of the Better Business Bureau believed the scam is serious.

“Usually, they’ll have the last four of the social, not the full Social Security number,” Shannon said. “If you receive something like this, you don’t ignore it; you need to take action immediately.”

With that much information, she added, the scammer has all he or she needs to steal your identity. Mikkayla instinctually did what the Better Business Bureau recommends if you receive a scam text like this:

  • Contact the credit bureau and file an identity theft affidavit with the Federal Trade Commission.
  • Notify the police.
  • Save the text messages as evidence.
  • Do not comply with the scammer’s request.
  • Lastly, report the the incident to the Better Business Bureau’s Scam Tracker.

“It happened to me. It could happen to anybody,” Mikkayla said.

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