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CHIPS Articles: Inspector General Warns About New Phone Scams

Inspector General Warns About New Phone Scams
Protect your identity and financial security
By CHIPS Magazine - August 14, 2017
Social Security’s Office of the Inspector General is warning citizens to stay vigilant and protect themselves from phone scams seeking privacy information, reported Gale Stallworth Stone, the acting inspector general of Social Security.

The OIG recently issued two scam alerts.

Citizens across the country are receiving calls from an individual posing as a Social Security employee. The phony caller tells the victim they are due a 1.7 percent cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) increase of their Social Security benefits. The impersonator then asks the victim to verify personal information to receive the increase. Reports show the calls have been coming from a phone number with a 323 area code. This call is fraudulent!

Another scheme allegedly targets former clients of Kentucky disability attorney Eric C. Conn. According to reports, the scammers claim to be from Social Security and offer people $9,000 from a “Conn Client Compensation Fund” if they send $200 to the “Federal Reserve Bank of New York.” This compensation fund does not exist! The number associated with these calls is 202-681-5115.

Social Security staff are not making these calls. If you receive a similarly suspicious call from someone claiming to represent Social Security or its Office of the Inspector General, please report it by calling 1-800-269-0271 or by visiting https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

The Office of the Inspector General offers tips to protect yourself from fraudsters:

  • Understand the threats. Be aware that there are scammers who may impersonate government officials in an attempt to swindle you out of your valuable resources and even steal your identity and banking and credit card information. If a caller threatens you with dire circumstances if you don’t provide payments or make purchases, hang up immediately. The Federal Trade Commission has resources to learn about protecting yourself from fraud and identity theft. You can even sign up for scam alerts.
  • Be cautious. No government agency or reputable company will solicit your personal information over the phone or by email, or request an advance fee. Do not call any number provided by a suspicious caller, as the unknown source is likely to use scare tactics to pressure you into providing personal information. Do not make payments over the phone or purchase gift cards or banking cards to resolve government or business matters—requests that are surely bogus.
  • Secure your information. Store your Social Security number and other privacy-related information in a safe location and always shred personal documents that you no longer need. Never throw such documents in the trash.

To learn more, go to https://oig.ssa.gov/newsroom/scam-awareness.

Report Scams

Report suspicious activity or communications involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline.

If you believe you have been a victim of an IRS impersonation scam, please report it to the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration.

The Federal Trade Commission has many resources to help you report and recover from identity theft, at ftc.gov/idtheft.

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