KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – For those who rely on their monthly Social Security checks, it gets your attention if that caller ID says Social Security. This is what happened to a woman in Knox County. At first she was suspicious, the caller told me she did not believe him but he made it sound real. However, it was not.
Scammers will often use a technique called ‘spoofing’, which intentionally falsifies the information sent to your caller ID display. This means that they can make the call seem like it is coming from someone else.
A few days after Valentine’s Day last week, Wilma noticed on her phone ID that there had been a call from Social Security. She returned it and wrote down the name of the guy who called, David Miller, who said he was in New Jersey.
“He said they had had a power outage and a lot of people’s information was gone and he needed to get some information,” said Wilma, who did not want to disclose her last name. “And he said I’ll ask you some questions. He said you would like a check this month, not true. I said, yes, I do. He said well, I just know you’re an elder “and you will not receive a check from the Social Security Office this month if you do not answer some of these questions. I know what I do and I’m not here to hurt you.”
Wilma said she was convinced he was truthful. “He said, ‘Look, I did not want to cheat on anyone because my mother is 84, and I did not want anyone to cheat on her.’
He asked Wilma for her mother and father’s full name and date of birth, information about her children and other personal information.
“Well, I need your bank account number. I said no, I do not give out. He said, do you want a check this month. I even asked if there was anyone there I could talk to, he said, no. “I’m alone in this office and what you’re telling me is disappearing from the computer in a few minutes,” said Wilma.
It took a few hours before Wilma realized she had been cheated. When she did, she called Social Security to report the incident.
Social Security says it reports suspicious calls to your local Social Security office, specifically the Inspector General’s office. If you disclose personal information, contact your bank, credit union and credit card providers immediately and call the credit bureaus and ask them to monitor your accounts.
Wilma made all those calls and now has a new checking account.
“It’s easy to get cheated, it’s easy for someone to talk to you really nicely and get your information. I realize I made a big mistake,” Wilma said.
FCC rules prohibit anyone from sending misleading caller ID information with the intent to defraud. But it’s hard to catch these scammers.
Remember this, only workers at your local Social Security office can call you, and not from an office in New Jersey where David Miller appears to be. Also, no matter how convincing they sound, no one at Social Security will ask you for personal information over the phone, they already have it.
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