WASHINGTON, D.C. — Have you received a strange call that appears to be from the Social Security office, or one warning you that your social security number has been suspended? Some people in the 559 area code have recently been alarmed to find this sort of potentially disturbing scenario unfold when they pick up the phone. Now, the public is being warned about this new government employee impersonation scam involving the Social Security Advisory Board.
Individuals are receiving scam phone calls displaying the board’s phone number on caller ID, and the callers are reportedly attempting to obtain personal information, including Social Security numbers. If you receive this type of call, the Inspector General of Social Security says you should not engage with the caller or provide personal information or money in response to requests or threats.
In other cases, a recorded message tells callers that their social security number has been suspended and demanding a call in return.
“These callers are employing tactics similar to impersonation schemes involving the IRS, SSA, and the SSA OIG,” says Inspector General Gail Ennis, who advises that callers may use a variety of false scenarios or threats to obtain personal information or payments, often requested through gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
However, the Social Security Advisory Board typically does not contact the general public to request personal information over the phone, according to their office. Moreover, government employees will never threaten you to obtain personal information or payments. In those cases, the call is fraudulent, and you should just hang up, say authorities.
“This caller-ID spoofing scheme has unfortunately evolved to include the Social Security Advisory Board, but it is the same type of scam, attempting to mislead people by using the trusted name of Social Security,” Inspector General Ennis says. “I encourage everyone to alert your family and friends about how common these scams are, and to be very cautious when speaking with unknown callers, even if you recognize the caller ID.”
Inspector General Ennis urges the public not to provide sensitive information over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. You should also never wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for any official government service.
If you receive a suspicious call, you may report that information online or by calling (800) 269-0271, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. PST. You can also report these scams to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams.