Beware of Social Security phone scam

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MONTICELLO – The Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office is warning residents of a recent fraud attempt in the area.

The latest scam involves a phone call from an automated voice that advises that “suspicious activity has been detected with your social security number” and “your social security number has been suspended while we investigate”.

The automated voice then asks you to press “one” for further assistance.    Once you press “one,” says Sheriff Michael Schiff, you get connected to a scam artist who asks for your social security number (so they can supposedly verify the suspension), your date of birth and all of the data necessary to commit identity theft and clean out your bank account.

Different variations of the scam will also claim that an arrest warrant will be issued unless a person calls immediately to verify their social security number.   “The advice for all these scams is simple,” said the sheriff. “Never give your personal information over the telephone; never send money via Western Union or Money Gram to someone you have never met, and don’t purchase a prepaid debit card to pay a bill or a fee that a caller claims you owe. No matter how official or intimidating the caller may sound, do not respond. The Social Security Administration does not contact people by telephone.”

 In 2017, the Federal Trade Commission heard from 3,200 people about Social Security Administration imposter scams, and those people reported losing nearly $210,000. In 2018 more than 35,000 people who reported the scam said they lost a combined $10 million.

To hear what a scam call sounds like, click HERE. (note, this is just one version of the scam).