Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA), is warning citizens about a phone scheme that has recently surfaced in Georgia. The SSA District Office in LaGrange, Ga., has received reports of calls made to area residents seeking Social Security and other personal information.
Inspector General O’Carroll urges all citizens to take precautions when giving out personal information. “You should never provide your Social Security number, bank account numbers, or other personal information unless you are extremely confident about the identity of the person asking for it. Social Security representatives generally will not make unsolicited calls and request personal information.”
According to SSA, a man received a call from an unknown person informing him the caller was an SSA employee and was selling insurance. Another caller told a Georgia woman the caller was from SSA, was calling about the woman’s Social Security information, and requested her birth date.
There are many variations of this type of scheme, which could lead to identity theft. For more information on identity theft, please click here, and contact the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/idtheft or 1-877-ID-THEFT.
If you receive a call or email from anyone claiming to be from a government agency and requesting personal information, O’Carroll recommends that you contact the agency directly to verify the employee’s identity. You may contact your local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, to verify the legitimacy of an SSA employee and/or the information request. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call Social Security’s TTY number at 1-800-325-0778.)
You may report suspicious activity involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at http://oig.ssa.gov/report, or by phone at 1-800-269-0271. (Those who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can call OIG’s TTY number at 1-866-501-2101.)
For more information, please contact Jonathan Lasher, Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, at (410) 965-2671.