Scammers making fraudulent calls impersonating Social Security Administration

Social Security Cards for identification and retirment USA. (Courtesy: Shutterstock / Lane V. Erickson)
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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Calls are going out across the country trying to trick people into giving out their personal information.

13 Investigates has received complaints about the fraudulent calls.

The problem is getting worse because scammers are actually spoofing government call center numbers to make those who might not answer, think the call is legitimate.

The Social Security Administration has had enough and is now fighting back. Investigators from the Social Security Inspector General's office in Washington D.C. are taking to the airwaves with a warning.

A scammer's message could be lurking in your voicemail inbox or one near you. It's designed to scare you into sharing your most sensitive information or handing over your money.

"We urge you to always be cautious and to avoid providing sensitive information such as your Social Security number or bank account information to unknown people over the phone or Internet," said Nancy A. Berryhill, Acting Commissioner of Social Security.

It's prompted the Social Security Administration and the Office of the Inspector General to launch a public service announcement as part of a nationwide campaign to help protect you and the elderly from a growing web of deception.

The message captured by investigators begins: "Department of the Social Security Administration. The reason for this call is to inform you that your social security number has been suspended for suspicion of illegal activity. If you do not contact us immediately, your account will be deactivated."

The caller proceeds with another scare tactic, telling whoever receives the message to "contact them immediately or risk being arrested or facing other legal action."

At that point in the public service announcement, an investigator emerges from a dark background to tell those watching, "This is a scam!"

The investigator goes on to explain that fraudsters have even found a way to make the calls appear to come from the agency itself.

"They even spoof "SSA's" main customer service telephone number on caller ID. Don't believe them. Don't provide any information. SSA employees will never threaten you for information or promise benefits in exchange for information," he warns.

Viewers who call 13 Investigates want to know what they should do?

Social Security Investigators believe the best advise is to hang up the call and report the incident to the Social Security Administration's OIG Fraud Hotline.

You can call the OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271 or report it online.

If you have business with the agency, be careful to make sure you are calling verified numbers.

Investigators also recommend you advise elderly loved ones about how to recognize scammers.
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