On Your Side: Social Security Office issues fraud alert

Investigations

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Inspector General’s office in Washington D.C. says it is aware that fraudulent calls are being made by scammers posing as Social Security agents, and the Social Security Office has issued a fraud alert.

The question is often asked, why do people fall for scam calls? The calls are threatening and that scares people.

If you have been by the Social Security office in the community where you live, you’ll see no cars in the parking lot due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Social Security offices are offering online assistance as well as assistance by phone.

Tom Legg is a semi-retired small engine mechanic. He considers himself pretty savvy when it comes to someone trying to pull a fast one on him. Recently, he got a call and immediately suspected it was a scam.

“They identified themselves as the Social Security Administration. They wanted me to be connected with one of their agents.”

Tom Legg

The caller told Legg that he noticed some strange or fraudulent activity on his account, but he didn’t fall for the con, but apparently others are being fooled.

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Social Security offices have been closed to the public for in-person service since mid-March.

So, scammers are posing as agents, calling people, like Tom, at random across the country.

“Some of these scammers may say threatening things like you will be arrested, if you don’t make payments or provide personal information. Do not fall for these tricks. These calls are not from us. Real Social Security employees will never threaten you for information or money. If you receive a call like this, hang up.”

Andrew Saul – Social Security Commissioner

The number you see on your caller ID may look like an official government number, but it’s not, it’s been spoofed. The scammer may say there is a problem with your Social Security number. They may tell you, you must pay a fine all in an effort to scare and trick you.

“Never give the person personal information like you Social Security number or bank account or send money in any form.”

Andrew Saul

If you get one of these calls, you’re asked to report it to oig.ssa.gov or you can do what Tom Legg did and simply just hang up.

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