Patrick P. O’Carroll, Jr., Inspector General for the Social Security Administration (SSA), is warning citizens about an imposter scheme that has surfaced recently in Louisiana. The SSA office in Monroe, Louisiana recently received calls about a woman who reportedly posed as an SSA employee to obtain individuals’ 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 to whom you are providing the information.”
The woman reportedly posed as an SSA employee outside a local business and requested personal information for people so that they could receive an economic stimulus payment. The woman reportedly told people they would receive a check by Oct. 12, 2011, and if the individuals did not receive a check, that they should contact SSA. Some individuals followed through and contacted the SSA office in Monroe about filing for the alleged stimulus payment. It is unknown how many individuals provided the woman with their personal information.
This type of scheme could lead to bank fraud or identity theft, in which personal information is misused to obtain credit, goods, or services. More information about identity theft is available from the Federal Trade Commission, at www.ftc.gov/idtheft.
If a person has questions about any interactions with individuals who claim to be from SSA, O’Carroll recommends the individual contact his or her local Social Security office, or call Social Security’s toll-free customer service number at 1-800-772-1213, to verify the legitimacy of the 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.)
Individuals may report suspicious activity involving Social Security programs and operations to the Social Security Fraud Hotline at http://oig.ssa.gov/report-fraud-waste-or-abuse, 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, OIG’s Assistant Inspector General for External Relations, at (410) 965-2671.