Morrisey Warns of Social Security Scams Targeting Residents

West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrissey is warning consumers of an effort by con artists who are posing as Social Security Administration workers and stealing personally identifiable information.

The increasingly prevalent scam relies upon unsolicited phone calls and various excuses to steal Social Security numbers and other sensitive information, Morrisey said.

Dozens of West Virginia consumers, on average, are reporting similar activity each week, according to the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division. The impersonators often claim the consumer has a compromised Social Security number or a frozen account, which in turn, threatens the person’s monthly check.

“Scam artists play to one’s worst fear,” Morrissey said. “These impersonators thrive upon consumers who react before they think. That’s why it is so important for everyone to take a deep breath, hang up the phone and report the call to authorities. This will protect you from handing over information to the wrong person.”

Impostors may also ask consumers to verify personal information, including their Social Security number, to replace a Social Security card, fix an issue with their online account, process a cost-of-living adjustment or rectify benefits that have been underpaid and need adjustment. The impostors will sometimes threaten legal action against consumers who do not comply.

People are urged to verify any information by calling the Social Security Administration and never make payments using wire transfer, gift cards or cash. Most government agencies and reputable companies will not seek personal information via an unsolicited phone call or email. People should also be aware of spoofing tactics, in which the phone number appears legitimate, but is not.

Anyone receiving such a call should report the information to the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General at 800-269-0271 or by going online to oig.ssa.gov/report.

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