Police advise of new Social Security scam

Officer M.R. Jennings of the Pulaski Police Department reports she has received complaints from local citizens on the following scam:

Social Security Warns of a New ‘Spoofing’ Scam

Fraudsters are using caller ID to make you think the agency is calling

Yet another Social Security scam is surfacing. This time the Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning that fraudsters are imitating the agency’s phone number to lure people into answering the phone.

If you receive any phone call with the number 800-772-1213 on your caller-ID screen, beware. While that number is the SSA’s national customer service line, the call is likely to be a technological trick that thieves are using to try to obtain your Social Security Number (SSN) or other personal information.

This type of fraud is called a “spoofing” scam. Your best bet is to just hang up. The scheme “shows that scammers will try anything to mislead and harm innocent people,” says Gale Stallworth Stone, the acting Inspector General of Social Security.

The SSA has warned people about several similar cons in recent months. Another one is an impersonation scam in which the caller pretends to be “acting Inspector General Gale Stone.”

Learn about this and other scams in AARP’s Fraud Watch Network

If you do take the spoofing call, avoid giving out your Social Security number or any checking or savings account numbers to people you don’t know, even if they are convincing. Citizens who have accepted the calls said the caller claims to be an SSA employee. Reports of this scam have come from across the country.

Typically, the caller says that the SSA does not have all of your personal information on file or that agency needs additional information so it can increase your Social Security benefits. The caller might even threaten that SSA will terminate your benefits if you do not confirm your information.

According to Stone, SSA employees do not contact Americans by telephone for customer-service purposes and ask for SSNs or financial information. Further, SSA employees will never threaten you for personal information or promise you a Social Security benefit approval or increase in exchange for information.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the SSA, report that information to the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) at 800-269-0271 (866-501-2101 for the deaf or hard of hearing) or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

More on Social Security scams