April 19, 2021 – The COVID 19 pandemic and the surrounding uncertainty has led to an increase in scams, resulting in a record number of consumer fraud complaints in 2020. According to NYS Attorney General Letitia James, “Consumers who have helped identify and report issues to our office have been invaluable partners in our efforts to stop deceptive scams and will continue to be vital partners going forward”.
One of the scams that has re-emerged is the “Social Security Number Scam”. The perpetrators are trying to get your Social Security number and your money.
In one version of the scam, the caller says your Social Security number has been linked to a crime (often, occurring in Texas) involving drugs or sending money out of the country illegally. The caller then says your Social Security number is blocked, and might ask you for a fee to reactivate it or get a new number. The caller will also ask you to confirm your Social Security number.
In another version of the scam, which recently occurred to one of our constituents, the caller asked personal details and indicated that his Social Security number was used by a drug dealer in Texas to open bank accounts. When the caller asked to connect him to the local FBI office and he said yes, the caller hung up.
In other variations, the caller says that somebody used your Social Security number to apply for credit cards and you could lose your benefits. Or the caller might warn you that your bank account is about to be seized, that you need to withdraw your money, and then the caller will tell you how to keep it safe.
Do not be deceived as scammers create a sense of urgency to prey on victim’s emotions; be SUSPISICOUS of anyone who calls unexpectedly asking for your Social Security number and personal details. NEVER send or transfer money for a requested fee or give your Social Security number to anyone!
All of these are scams. Here’s what your need to know*:
- The Social Security Administration will never call and ask for your Social Security number. They won’t ask you to pay anything and they won’t call to threaten your benefits.
- Never give your Social Security number to anyone who contacts you. Don’t confirm the last 4 digits. And don’t give a bank account number or credit card number to anybody who contacts you asking for it.
- Remember that anyone who tells you to wire money, pay with a gift card, or send cash is a scammer. No matter who they say they are.
If you’re worried about a call who claims to be from the Social Security Administration, get off the phone. Then call the real Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213 (TTY 1-800-325-0778).
During these times it is vital we stay vigilant against such scams. If you’ve spotted a scam, then please tell the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov/complaint. (*Source Data: Federal Trade Commission)
Due to her extensive experience as a former nurse and as a member of the small business community, Legislator Kennedy has strived to put the needs and welfare of her community first, especially the most vulnerable. Legislator Leslie Kennedy’s office is here to assist at 631-854-3735 and works to help protect the citizens of Suffolk County.
Suffolk County Legislator Leslie Kennedy represents the 12th Legislative District, encompassing Smithtown, Nesconset, Hauppauge, the Village of the Branch, Lake Grove, parts of Commack, Ronkonkoma, Lake Ronkonkoma and Centereach. Legislator Kennedy was born and raised on Long Island, is a former nurse and small business manager, and has dedicated her life toward the betterment of our community. She currently serves on the following committees: Environment, Parks & Agriculture; Veterans & Consumer Affairs; Fire, Rescue and Emergency Medical Services & Preparedness; Government, Operations, Personnel, Information Technology & Diversity; Education & Labor; Public Safety; Ways & Means; and Health (Vice Chair).