THOMASVILLE — Scam callers with information about Social Security fraud are committing fraud themselves.
According to police, the scammers call repeatedly with a message about fraud being detected with one's Social Security number. The caller begins the conversation by asking the person's name. When the would-be victim begins to question the caller, the scammer abruptly ends the conversation.
"Some scammers threaten to end benefits or threaten arrest unless the victim takes immediate action by making some sort of payment," said Cpl. Crystal Parker, Thomasville Police Department public information officer. "Some request banking information, money transfers or gift card numbers."
Immediate red flags should go up, Parker added.
Social Security has coined the phrase "Slam the Scam," which means to end the call immediately. Further information was not available at the Thomasville Social Security office.
Parker said people called should not be concerned about being rude by hanging up on scammers.
"Simply hang up. That is what we want our citizens to do when the receive a suspicious call," Parker said.
The Social Security scammers are very convincing and sometimes threatening, the officer said.
Parker said family members should discuss the scam and, in particular, ensure elderly family members who are more at risk for being scammed are aware the calls are not legitimate.
Screening calls by allowing them to go to voicemail and not answering unknown numbers are ways to avoid the calls. Some cell phone service providers offer screening services to help identity scam calls, Parker said.
"Please remember that true government agencies will not call you to request personal information or threaten you with arrest due to an identity theft problem. They will never ask you to buy a gift card to make a payment or ask you to wire money or mail cash," she said.
Anyone who receives a suspicious call and needs help should contact the police department at (229) 227-3249.
Anyone who has been a victim of a Social Security scam should report it to the Office of the Inspector General at oig.ssa.gov or call 1-800-269-0271 Monday through Friday between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Eastern Standard time.
Senior reporter Patti Dozier can be reached at (229) 226-2400, ext. 1820