Phone Scam Targeting Senior Citizens, Threatening Social Security Benefits

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According to a recent report by the Better Business Bureau, senior citizens of Central & Eastern Kentucky are receiving high volumes of scam calls from people pretending to be officials from the Social Security Administration. Seniors reporting these calls claim they’re told their numbers have been used in “criminal activity” and must call a number to prevent suspension of their benefits.

“This is an old scam, but is hitting central and eastern Kentucky hard right now,” said Heather Clary, Director of Communications for the BBB serving Central & Eastern Kentucky.  “Our staff has taken nearly 10 calls just this morning.  These scammers try to frighten senior citizens who depend upon those payments into giving out their Social Security numbers and other personal information that can be used for identity theft.”

Most of the callers who have contacted the BBB regarding this scam have been in their 80s and 90s, and all of them hung up before giving any information to the fraudsters.

“We want to alert the public that these calls have picked up again so you can warn loved ones, neighbors or friends to be on the lookout. The Social Security Administration does NOT call you with threats like this,” Clary said.

The BBB says to never give personal information to unsolicited callers. If you received an unsolicited phone call from an unknown source, refuse to tell them any personal information, no matter what scare tactic they use.

The BBB wants to remind people that the SSA does not call you asking for your Social Security number. They will not request payment, nor will they make any threats regarding benefits.

Officials say that you can’t always trust your caller ID to help you steer clear of scams, either. Software programs and internet services have made it easier for scammers to employ a fake ID when calling a household. If you receive a suspicious call, don’t make any important decisions based on what your caller ID says.

If you are concerned about a call you received from someone who claims to be with the SSA, you can call the real SSA at 1-800-772-1213.

Report any scams to BBB Scam Tracker at www.bbb.org/scamtracker.