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The original item was published from 7/29/2019 5:06:38 PM to 9/1/2019 12:00:20 AM.

County News Flash

Campbell County News

Posted on: July 29, 2019

[ARCHIVED] SSA and OIGAlert Public of Telephone Scam: Citizens Advised to Protect Personal Information

Scam Alert

The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme. Social Security and the OIG continue to receive reports from across the country about fraudulent phone calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. Calls can even “spoof” Social Security’s national customer service number as the incoming number on the caller ID. The new PSAs will air on TV and radio stations across the country to alert the public to remain vigilant against potential fraud.

“We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet,” said Dan O’Connor, Regional Communications Director of Social Security in Philadelphia. “If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful – you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you.”

Social Security employees do occasionally contact people--generally those who have ongoing business with the agency--by telephone for business purposes. However, Social Security employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller.

“These calls appear to be happening across the country, so we appreciate SSA’s partnership in this national public outreach effort,” said Gail S. Ennis, the Inspector General for the Social Security Administration. “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the OIG, just hang up.”

The new PSA addressing the telephone impersonation scheme is available online at www.youtube.com/socialsecurity 

Locally, the Campbell County Sheriff’s Office has received reports from many citizens who have received calls such as those described. 

“Many of these scammers are rude and aggressive and try to scare their targets into action," said Captain Mike Lawhorn, spokesman for the Sheriff's Office. "In one situation, the fake callers told the potential victim that her Social Security number had been “suspended” because of suspicious activity. Citizens should know that the callers may ask them to confirm their Social Security numbers, but just as our colleagues from the SSA and OIG stated, the best thing to do to protect yourself is simply to hang up – and tell your family members to do the same, that way you can protect them as well."

If a person receives these calls, he or she should report the information to the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

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