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scammer-calling

The Social Security Administration (SSA) is warning consumers of a new impersonation scheme targeting citizens across the country.

In March, the SSA and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) alerted the public to a scam in which consumers were receiving calls from individuals posing as OIG investigators. The scammers falsely told the victims that there was an issue with their Social Security account or SSN and directed them to call a number to fix the problem. The number, of course, had no affiliation with the SSA.

In the latest variation of this scam, callers are informing their victims that they are due a 1.7percent cost-of-living adjustment increase for their Social Security benefits, which is a lie. What these criminals really want is your financial information. These callers then go on to ask to verify all victims’ personal information including date of birth, Social Security number, parents’ names, and more. Then, if successful, the fraud caller uses the information to contact the SSA and request changes to the victim’s information.

How do you avoid this scam?

Because the SSA occasionally does call consumers, they want you to be 100percent certain that it is them on the phone! Always be cautious and avoid providing information like your SSN or bank account numbers to unknown persons over the phone or Internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. The calls, in this instance, are currently coming from a telephone number with a 323 area code, but telephone spoofing makes it easy for scammers to change the area code to reflect a local one.

If you have questions about any communication—email, letter, text or phone call—that claims to be from SSA or the OIG, please contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday, to verify its legitimacy.  (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.) Suspicious or scam calls from someone alleging to be from SSA, may be reported to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report.

 

If you have additional questions, contact the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation by calling our Consumer Hotline at (617) 973-8787, or toll-free in MA at (888) 283-3757, Monday through Friday, from 9 am-4:30 pm. Follow the Office on Facebook and Twitter, @Mass_Consumer. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation along with its five agencies work together to achieve two goals: to protect and empower consumers through advocacy and education, and to ensure a fair playing field for Massachusetts businesses. The Office also oversees the state’s Lemon Laws, data breach reporting, Home Improvement Contractor Programs and the state’s Do Not Call Registry.

 

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