The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office wants the public to be aware that criminals may be attempting to impersonate members of the United States Social Security Administration (SSA) in an effort to defraud members of our community.
The Social Security Administration will never call to demand an immediate payment, demand that someone re-pay an amount without providing them the ability to appeal, demand that someone make payments through a specific means such as prepaid gift cards or wire transfer, demand that someone release personal identifying information such as their full legal name, date of birth, address, Social Security number or any password information or demand that someone take a specific action under the threat of arrest or deportation.
Recently, some community members may have received the following phone call:
“Thank you. This call is from the Department of Social Security Administration. The reason you have received this phone call from our department is to inform you that we have just suspended your Social Security number because we have found suspicious activity so if you want to know about this case, just press one. Thank you.”
According to the United States Federal Trade Commission, Social Security numbers do not get “suspended.”
The FTC says that the number of scam reports are “now growing exponentially.” In December 2018, the agency reported approximately $10 million had been successfully stolen as a result of SSA-themed scams.
Criminals can easily spoof the caller ID to show the Social Security Administration’s real customer service phone number (1-800-772-1213) when making fraudulent calls. The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office has learned the phone numbers of “1-800-772-9139” and “1-800-772-8956” have recently shown up on caller IDs associated with calls purporting to be from the SSA.
When a legitimate business or government agency calls for official reasons, they will not need a person to verify their Social Security number or any other personal identifying information, because they will already have that information on file. For example, if a financial institution calls, they will never ask for your bank account information, a PIN or account login information. That information should be readily available to them.
If you ever receive a spontaneous phone call from someone soliciting information, be suspicious. Think about every piece of information that is being requested. Any data you provide, even something that may seem mundane, could be the “key” the scammer needs to commit theft.
Never hesitate to hang up on a person you believe is trying to scam you. It might seem rude, but it is the best option to end a phone call. If you receive a voicemail, do not call back.
The Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office works closely with local, state and federal law enforcement to identify the individuals behind these scam efforts, but many times, the people associated with them can be overseas or hiding behind massively complex computer networks.
If someone has tried to steal your personal information by pretending to be from the government, report it to the FTC.
Recently, the SSA used its offical YouTube page to post several Public Service Announcements (PSAs).
Contact: Brent Weisberg, Communications Director