Viewer shares scammers’ threatening phone messages

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – It seems there are scams are all over the place these days. Especially upsetting are the scams that target people who depend on Social Security benefits and use the administration’s name in their shady dealings.

A viewer recently asked WATE 6 On Your Side’s Don Dare to listen to the voices of scammers she had recorded, revealing the threatening nature of the scams.

Jane Joy scrolled through her saved messages the other day so we could listen to a number a calls she recently received.

“…Press 1 to talk with investigating officer before we begin legal enforcement action that has been filed against your social security number. Press 1 now…”

Joy shared with WATE 6 On Your Side how threats from scammers upset and even scared her, especially since they spoke of action against her Social Security number.

Here’s what to know about this scam:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended.
  • SSA will not call to threaten your benefits.
  • SSA will tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards.
  • SSA will never ask you to verify your number, the administration knows it.
  • Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer. Every time.

Joy said a different message was even more scary.

“…Right now your physical property is being monitored by the DEA. It’s very important that we hear back from you before we proceed with any legal matter. To get more information about your case you may call out department number Regards, United State’s Marshall and DEA.”

The tone of these calls is urgent and aggressive, and more:

  • Callers threaten arrest or prosecution.
  • The callers demand thousands of dollars by wire transfer or untraceable gift cards.
  • Callers will often ask for personal information, such as social security number or date of birth.
  • Callers can falsify the number on caller ID to appear as a legitimate government agency phone number.

On her phone, Joy can block unwanted calls, which saves her a lot of aggravation and concern.

“I want others to hear this so they don’t make a mistake,” Joy said.

To clarify, no DEA agent will ever contact you by telephone to demand money or any other form of payment, nor will anyone call you from the Social Security Administration.

You may report suspicious communications claiming to be from the Social Security to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271.

You can also report scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site-specific to Social Security scams: Click here to visit the page


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