Authorities across the nation are warning senior citizens and Social Security Disability recipients about a new twist on an old Social Security scam that is defrauding unsuspecting people out of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars that are ultimately unable to be refunded or recovered.
Scammers are once again posing as government employees and contacting Social Security recipients by phone. They proceed to tell the senior or disability benefit recipient that their social security number has been hacked and/or compromised and that they must immediately take steps to resolve the problem such as “confirming” their personal information or paying a fee over the phone. The new twist is that scammers are now claiming to have the power to freeze the victim’s bank accounts, stop benefits or issue an arrest warrant if the victim does not comply.
One recent victim shared their experience with the Philadelphia Inquirer:
“These scam artists terrified me into thinking that my information had been compromised and that I was going to jail, I trusted the scammers because they told me that they were with the Social Security Administration and the county sheriff’s office, and I had just filed to start receiving my Social Security benefits a few days prior.”
Another victim told NBC News in Dallas that a caller pretending to be a Social Security Administration employee told him that his Social Security number was compromised, bank accounts frozen and that there were arrest warrants now issued in the victim’s name. The victim proceeded to give the scammer the $300 that was demanded to resolve the issue.
As a rule of thumb, if you receive a phone call from someone claiming they are a representative of the Social Security Administration trying to collect a debt or resolve a problem, politely hang up and call back Social Security directly. If there is truly an issue, you will be able to work with a different representative to address the situation. If it is a scam, Social Security will be able to inform you of such when you call back.
Likewise, if it is confirmed that you are the victim of a Social Security scam, contact Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report so that they are abreast of what is happening and can work to shut down similar scams that may be happening.