Scam Alert: If You Get a Call from the Inspector General, Don’t Answer It

consumer
July 31, 2017

CBS News reports that cons posing as agents for the Social Security Administration are calling senior citizens and beneficiaries of the program in an effort to steal their personal information, which they use in turn to steal their money.

Government officials report that cons are calling to “verify” private information, such as Social Security numbers, birthdays and parents’ names, to calculate cost-of-living increases in their benefits. But after they obtain the sensitive data, they call the Social Security Administration themselves and steal benefit checks.

In another scam, persons answer the phone to hear a recorded message warning them about a problem with their benefit checks. If a senior calls the number provided in the message, they’re told a warrant has been made for their arrest, and that the only way to resolve the problem is to purchase prepaid debit cards worth hundreds of dollars.

“This scheme targets unsuspecting persons and uses scare tactics to defraud them of their resources,” said Gale Stallworth Stone, Social Security’s Acting Inspector General, in a written warning. “If an unknown person pressures you on the phone into providing payments or making purchases for odd reasons, don’t think twice about hanging up.”

In a third type of scam, targeting former clients of an unscrupulous Kentucky lawyer, who stole money through false disability claims, Social Security recipients are promised $9,000 in additional payments if they send in a $200 fee. If they refuse, they’re threatened with arrest.

The Social Security Administration warns its customers that if they receive a phone call from someone purporting to be with Social Security or the agency’s Office of Inspector General, don’t answer it. Instead, report the issue to the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report 

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