ST. LOUIS – The United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Missouri and Social Security Office of the Inspector General want you to know about widespread phone scams where callers impersonate government officials.
The imposters tell you about a Social Security-related problem to gain a taxpayer’s trust and steal their money. “Slam the scam” by immediately hanging up!
The predators may:
- Call to threaten you with arrest or legal action if you do not immediately pay a debt, fine or fee.
- Tell you that your Social Security number has been suspended, offer to increase your benefits or resolve identity theft problems in exchange for payment.
- Demand payment using retail gift cards, prepaid debit cards, wire transfers, internet currency or by mailing cash.
- Demand secrecy in handling a Social Security-related problem or tell you to make up a story to tell your friends, family or store/bank employees.
- Text you unsolicited to tell you about a problem with your Social Security number or benefits.
- Email you attached documents containing your personal information to convince you they are Social Security officials.
Hard-working taxpayers should be cautious if they receive an unsolicited call from the government and don’t recognize the problem or issue they’re calling about.
Tips to help ‘Slam the Scam’ include:
- Don’t provide personally identifiable information over the phone.
- Discuss major financial decisions with trusted friends or family.
- If you ever owe money to Social Security, the agency will mail you a letter with payment options and appeal rights.
Taxpayers should report Social Security scams by clicking onto www.oig.ssa.gov and other scams by clicking onto ftc.gov/complaint.