A new variation of social security fraud has invaded the State of Arkansas. This phone scam is typically initiated by someone saying they work for the Social Security Administration and claiming that your social security number has been cancelled due to fraud or misuse. In response, Arkansans will often verify their social security number over the phone.
Once the number is shared, the scam artist steals the victim’s identity and uses it for their own monetary gain and to wreck the credit of the victim, according to a news release from Attorney General Leslie Rutledge.
“From Lake Village to Salem to Lewisville, I have met with Arkansans who have received calls from someone claiming to be with the Social Security Administration stating their number has been cancelled,” said Rutledge. “Let me be clear: this is a scam to steal your identity to open up fraudulent credit cards — the Social Security Administration will never contact you by phone about your number.”
Social security fraud continues to be a big problem for Arkansans. The Attorney General’s office however, is taking back the fight. In March, Rutledge announced that Joseph Sensabaugh, from Conway, was ordered to pay more than $300,000 in restitution for the part he played in a social security scam. Likewise, Carl Smith, of Fort Smith, was ordered in June to pay $72,000 in restitution after being convicted on charges of social security fraud.
Rutledge endorsed the following Federal Trade Commission tips for Arkansans who may be dealing with a government imposter:
• Never give out or confirm sensitive information, such as a bank account, credit card or social security numbers unless the caller is trusted and his or her identity has been confirmed.
• Be cautious of callers using organizational or familiar-sounding names similar to existing agencies. Scammers use internet technology to spoof area codes, so although it may seem that a call is from Washington, D.C., it could instead originate from anywhere in the world — even from scammers.
• The Social Security Administration and other government agencies have warned about these scams. If contacted, hang up and call the government agency directly at a trusted number.
The Social Security Administration can be contacted at 1-800-772-1213 to verify the reason for the contact and the person’s identity prior to providing any information to the caller.
To report this scam to the Social Security Administration, contact its Fraud Hotline at 1-800-269-0271, or file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission.
Details: Attorney General’s office, ArkansasAG.gov, facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge or 800-482-8982.