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Watch out for Social Security scam, police say

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 2/20/19

Tax season is upon us, and with it increased efforts by scammers to get your Social Security number, Middletown police are warning.

One such example came on Jan. 30, when a 69-year-old borough man …

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Watch out for Social Security scam, police say

Posted

Tax season is upon us, and with it increased efforts by scammers to get your Social Security number, Middletown police are warning.

One such example came on Jan. 30, when a 69-year-old borough man received a call from someone claiming that the man’s Social Security number had been “compromised,” according to police.

As described by the man to police, the “robo-type” caller instructed the man to call a designated number, in order to fix the so-called compromise.

Instead, the man did what police say a victim should always do in a case like this — alert law enforcement.

Police suggested the man apply for a free credit check, to confirm that his number had not been used in a fraudulent manner.

These types of telephone scams are common, not just in Middletown but everywhere, said borough Police Detective Gary Rux II.

The scammers appear to target senior citizens and Medicare Part D participants. The scams can occur  anytime, but they tend to increase during tax season, when getting someone’s Social Security number can provide access to someone’s tax return information, Rux said.

In October, Acting Inspector General of Social Security Gale Stallworth Stone warned citizens of a caller-ID “spoofing” scheme where the number 800-772-1213 — the Social Security Administration’s national customer service line — comes up on a person’s caller ID screen.

The caller identifies himself or herself as an SSA employee. In some cases, the caller states that the SSA does not have all of the person’s personal information, such as their Social Security Number, on file.

In other cases, the caller claims that the SSA needs more information so the agency can increase the person’s benefit payment, or that SSA will terminate the person’s benefits if they do not confirm their information.

Stone said that SSA employees do sometimes contact citizens by telephone for customer-service purposes, and in some situations an SSA employee may request the citizen confirm personal information over the phone.

However, Stone said that SSA employees will never threaten someone for information, or promise a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information. In such cases, the call is fraudulent and you should hang up, Stone said.

Stone urged citizens to be cautious and avoid providing information such as your Social Security number or bank account numbers to unknown people over the phone or Internet.

Anyone receiving a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the SSA should contact the Office of the Inspector General at 800-269-0271 or oig.ssa.gov/report.