Social Security phone scam affecting southern Coloradans

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You’ve likely gotten them before: robocalls. 

On average, Americans are receiving seven to 10 robocalls per week, according to AARP.  

Even worse, robocalls are becoming more and more advanced, making it harder to determine what’s real and what’s a scam.

This time they are targeting people on Social Security. The callers are posing as someone from the Social Security Administration. 

Wendy Rundle got the call on her cell phone Tuesday morning.

“He asked me for my name, so I gave him my name, and he asked for my Social Security number, and I told him, I do not feel comfortable giving my Social Security number of the phone,” Rundle said.  

The man said if she didn’t give it to him she would be arrested in 30 minutes. He also said that a “law enforcement agency was ordered to suspend her Social Security number on an immediate basis.”

Your Social Security number cannot be suspended.  

Rundle, though, does have a case pending against the Social Security Administration, making the call more believable.  

“This has been ongoing for seven years and I’ve talked to a lot of different agents in seven years,” Rundle said.  

She was in a car accident and has a traumatic brain injury. Now, she’s trying to get disability, and her case is pending.  

“I might be an easier target, and makes you feel some type of way inside, you know?” Rundle said. “Like just because you are aware, you might have this information and now it’s something you are going to use against me. It’s a little disheartening.”  

Wendy is only 46, but she’s worried that the scam targets those more vulnerable than her.

“[Social Security] does have mostly to do with elderly or disabled people who may not be as quick to think on their feet,” Rundle said. 

Silver Key President & CEO Jason DeaBueno is also concerned, saying these scam callers use scare tactics.  

“You get caught up in a conversation, ‘you need to get this information to me right now,’ and that, unfortunately, can cause a little bit of an emotional reaction, particularly because you might not fully understand the situation,” DeaBueno said.

Silver Key has tips on how you can avoid being scammed.  

  • Never give information to someone who called you, or even someone who asked you to call them back. 
  • If you have a supposed government agency call you, hang up and call them back at the number that you know, not the one they gave you.  
  • If you suspect something is a scam, make sure you report it.    
  • Use common sense. Ask yourself: is there a reason you would have business with the company?
  • Look out for your neighbors.

DeaBueno said Silver Key can help you find the right contact information if you are having trouble contacting the Social Security Administration.

The administration wants you to report the details of any scam calls you receive. You can do that by calling the Office of the Inspector General at 1-800-269-0271 or online at oig.ssa.gov/report.

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