The Inspector General of Social Security, Gail S. Ennis, warned the public last week about a new variation of increasingly common government employee impersonation scams, this time involving the Social Security Advisory Board.
In a press statement Social Security stated its advisory board has reported that individuals are receiving scam phone calls displaying the board’s phone number on caller ID.
The callers are reportedly attempting to obtain personal information, including Social Security numbers. Individuals receiving this type of call should not engage with the caller or provide personal information or money in response to requests or threats, the agency said.
These callers are employing tactics similar to impersonation schemes involving the IRS, SSA, and the SSA OIG. Ennis advised that callers may use a variety of false scenarios or threats to obtain personal information or payments, often requested through gift cards or prepaid debit cards.
According to Social Security, the advisory board does not typically contact the general public to request personal information over the phone. Moreover, government employees will never threaten you to obtain personal information or payments.
“This caller-ID spoofing scheme has unfortunately evolved to include the Social Security Advisory Board, but it is the same type of scam, attempting to mislead people by using the trusted name of Social Security,” Inspector General Ennis said. “I encourage everyone to alert your family and friends about how common these scams are, and to be very cautious when speaking with unknown callers, even if you recognize the caller ID.”
Ennis urged the public not to provide sensitive information over the phone or internet unless you are certain of who is receiving it. She said individuals should also never wire money or add money to a prepaid debit card to pay for any official government service.
Suspicious calls can be reported online at https://oig.ssa.gov/report or by calling (800) 269-0271, Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Scams can also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission through a new site specific to Social Security scams: https://identitytheft.gov/ssa.