Las Cruces residents should be aware of scam telephone calls from impersonators claiming to be with the Social Security Administration. The fraudulent callers have been falsely claiming there is a problem with a person’s Social Security number or account and have been trying to obtain personal information that would be used to facilitate identity theft, or in some instances threatening callers.
In recent weeks the Social Security Administration has received more than 111,000 complaints through a new online form the government agency has implemented: https://oig.ssa.gov/scam.
Social Security Administration officials said if anyone receives a suspicious call, they should follow any of these three remedies:
- Hang up on the caller.
- Do not give money or share personal information over the telephone.
- Report the scam at https://oig.ssa.gov/scam.
“I want every American to know that if a suspicious caller states there is a problem with their Social Security number or account, they should hang up and never give the caller money or personal information. People should then go online to report the scam call to Social Security,” said Social Security Commissioner Andrew Saul.
The Social Security Administration has launched a new Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign to warn people about the ongoing telephone impersonation scheme, which is spreading across the U.S. The PSAs feature a message from Commissioner Saul and is available online at www.youtube.com/socialsecurity.
Scammers have been misleading victims into making cash or gift card payments for help with purported identity theft, or to avoid arrest for bogus Social Security number problems.
People should also be aware of a new version of the scam. Fraudsters are emailing fake documents in attempts to get people to comply with their demands. Victims have received emails with attached letters and reports that appear to be from Social Security or the agency’s Office of the Inspector General. The letters may use official letterhead and government jargon to convince victims they are legitimate; they may also contain misspellings and grammar mistakes.
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 or money.
Social Security will not:
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended.
- Contact you to demand immediate payment.
- Ask you for credit or debit card numbers over the phone.
- Require a specific means of debt repayment, like a prepaid debit card, a retail gift card, or cash.
- Demand that you pay a Social Security debt without the ability to appeal the amount you owe.
- Promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information or money.
If there is a problem with a person’s Social Security number or record, in most cases Social Security will mail a letter. If a person needs to submit payments to Social Security, the agency will send a letter with instructions and payment options. People should never provide information or payment over the phone or the Internet unless they are certain of who is receiving it.