Officials: Social security scammers cost Americans $10 million in 2018

OKLAHOMA CITY – While tax season is just around the corner, Oklahoma state leaders are urging residents to be cautious of a new scam that is targeting Oklahomans.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter warned Oklahomans about scam artists claiming to be with the Social Security Administration who were trying to steal social security numbers and money.

“Oklahomans need to be on high alert about this growing, deceitful scam,” Attorney General Hunter said. “If they receive phone calls with someone claiming to be with the SSA and asking for their social security number or money, they need to hang up the phone immediately. Authorities with the SSA will never call an individual requesting information or money over the phone. Although my office welcomes consumers to file complaints, the best action individuals can take is to learn about these scams and be informed to prevent loss.”

The scam typically involves the alleged thief telling individuals that their social security number has been suspended because of suspicious activity. The scammers will then request the victim to confirm their social security number in order to reactivate it. In other cases, they will say your bank about is about to be seized so you need to put money on a gift card and give them the codes.

Recently, News 4 spoke to Mary Allen after she received one of those calls.

“Yeah, pissed me off,” Allen said. “I was mad.”

In 2018, the Federal Trade Commission reported complaints about fake social security calls were up nearly 1,000 percent compared to the previous year, costing Americans $10 million. In the last two weeks, the attorney general’s consumer unit has received 13 complaints regarding the scam.

The FTC offers the following tips to avoid being taken advantage of by a scam:

  • Ignore the calls. The SSA will never call to threaten your benefits or tell you to wire money, send cash, or put money on gift cards. Anyone who tells you to do those things is a scammer, every time.
  • Don’t be fooled by a caller ID showing the SSA’s real number 1 (800) 772-1213. Scam artists use computers to easily show any number on a caller ID, which is also known as spoofing.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number, bank account or credit card number to anyone who contacts you.

If Oklahomans receive unsolicited calls from anyone claiming to be from the SSA, they are encouraged to file a complaint with the FTC at: FTC.gov/complaint.

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