XENIA — Officials are urging residents to be extra careful in protecting personal information on the phone as reports of fraudulent impersonation calls continue.
Marty Heide, a Greene County outreach representative for Congressman Mike Turner, talked to Greene County Commissioners about the scam June 27.
“This is targeted toward everyone, but specifically senior citizens,” Heide said. “The bottom line is that IRS, or Social Security Administration, will never call you on the phone. Any communication is done by mail. Don’t give your Social Security numbers out.”
The Social Security Administration (SSA) and its Office of the Inspector General (OIG) launched a joint Public Service Announcement (PSA) campaign addressing the nationwide telephone impersonation scheme, a release said.
Citizens across the country are receiving calls from people falsely claiming to be Social Security employees. Calls can “spoof” the SSA national customer-service number as the incoming number on caller ID.
A June 22 Xenia Police Division Facebook post indicated a local resident recently reported a scam like this.
“The caller said they were from the Social Security Administration and told the resident their Social Security number had been suspended due to suspicious activity. Two different 1-800 numbers showed up on the resident’s caller ID,” the post states. “If you ever receive a call like this do not give them any information.”
Nancy A. Berryhill, acting commissioner of SSA, encourages residents to be cautious and avoid providing sensitive information, including a bank account number, to unknown people over the phone or internet.
“If you receive a call and are not expecting one, you must be extra careful — you can always get the caller’s information, hang up, and contact the official phone number of the business or agency the caller claims to represent. Do not reveal personal data to a stranger who calls you,” Berryhill said.
The release indicates that SSA employees do occasionally contact people, generally those who have ongoing business with the agency, by telephone for business purposes. But SSA employees will never threaten a person or promise a Social Security benefit approval, or increase, in exchange for information. In those cases, the call is fraudulent and people should not engage with the caller.
Gail S. Ennis, inspector general for SSA, said, “Our message to the public is simply this: If you or someone you know receives a questionable call claiming to be from SSA or the OIG, just hang up.”