Friday, March 31, 2017

FRAUD ADVISORY: INSPECTOR GENERAL UPDATES PUBLIC ABOUT OIG IMPERSONATION SCHEME

March 30, 2017
 
Gale Stallworth Stone, the Acting Inspector General of Social Security, is urging citizens to remain vigilant of a nationwide telephone impersonation scheme.  Since alerting the public in early March about suspicious calls from people posing as Office of the Inspector General (OIG) investigators, the Social Security Administration (SSA) and the OIG have received additional reports and information about the phone scheme from citizens across the country.
 
According to reports, the calls include a recorded message from an “officer with the Inspector General of Social Security.”  The recording states the person’s Social Security account, Social Security number (SSN), and/or benefits are suspended, and the person should call a non-SSA number to resolve the issue.  For instance, a common recording from “Nancy Jones” requests citizens call 806-680-2373.  Upon calling the number, an unknown person alerts unsuspecting citizens about a warrant for their arrest.  The unknown person urges citizens to purchase iTunes cards, other gift cards, or prepaid banking cards, for hundreds of dollars, and to provide the card information to the unknown person, to resolve the warrant.
 
Acting Inspector General Stone advises that citizens:
  • Avoid calling any number provided by a suspicious source, as the unknown source might pressure you to provide your personal information, or to make a payment or purchase for fictitious reasons.
  • Avoid making payments over the phone or purchasing gift cards or banking cards to resolve government or business matters.
“This scheme targets unsuspecting persons and uses scare tactics to defraud them of their resources,” Acting Inspector General Stone said.  “Citizens should be very careful and avoid responding to suspicious calls.  If an unknown person pressures you on the phone into providing payments or making purchases for odd reasons, don’t think twice about hanging up.”
If a person receives a similar suspicious call from someone alleging to be from the OIG, citizens may report that information to the OIG at 1-800-269-0271 or online via https://oig.ssa.gov/report.
If a person has questions about any communication—phone call, email, letter, or text—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.)
For more information, contact Andrew Cannarsa, OIG’s Communications Director, at (410) 965-2671.

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