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Attorney General warns of social security scam

Photo by News Mississippi

The Attorney General’s office is warning you about a social security scam.

Attorney General Jim Hood stated that the scam, which involves people pretending to be from the Social Security Administration (SSA), has been around for several months and is now growing and has taken on several different forms.

“A concerned citizen sent me a recording of one of these scammers,” General Hood said. “Here’s what one of these calls sounds like.

These scammers try to scare you by saying your Social Security number (SSN) has been suspended because of suspicious activity, or because it’s been involved in a crime. Sometimes, the scammer wants you to confirm your SSN to reactivate it. Sometimes, he’ll say your bank account is about to be seized – but he’ll tell you what to do to keep it safe. (Often, that involves putting your money on gift cards and giving him the codes – which, of course, means that your money is gone.) Oh, and your caller ID often shows the real SSA phone number (1-800-772-1213) when these scammers call – but they’re faking that number. It’s not the real SSA calling.

“Recently our office has been made aware of a new version of the scam,” General Hood said. “This new version is even more frightening because it takes additional steps to make the call seem legitimate.”  In this new version, the scammer claims to be with the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) and advises that the person’s SSN was used in criminal or suspicious activity and DEA is about to seize assets and money from the person’s bank account if they do not send money ASAP. The new twist is that if the person hangs up on the scammer, the person immediately receives a second call that appears to be from the local police department claiming they have a warrant and are on their way to arrest the person.  General Hood warns, “If you get one of these calls, no matter how official they seem and no matter how scary the situation sounds – hang up!”

Here’s what to know:

  • Your Social Security number is not about to be suspended. You don’t have to verify your number to anyone who calls out of the blue. And your bank accounts are not about to be seized.
  • Government agencies such as SSA or DEA 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.
  • Your caller ID might show the real SSA number (1-800-772-1213) but that is not the real SSA calling you.  Scammers are putting that number in the caller ID.  Computers make it easy to show any number on caller ID.  You can’t trust what you see there.
  • If you’re worried about what the caller says, hang up and call 1-800-772-1213 to speak to the real SSA. Even if the wait time is long, confirm with the real SSA before responding to one of these calls.
  • Never give any part of your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits, and don’t give a bank account or credit card number – ever – to anybody who contacts you asking for it.

If you need additional information regarding this scam, please contact the Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General’s Office at 1-800-281-4418 or 601-359-4230.

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