Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear has issued a Scam Alert to warn Kentuckians of a new phone scam where con artists claim to be Federal Social Security Administration agents calling to notify you that your Social Security number has been stolen.
Beshear said his office received a report of the scam after a caller tricked a Jefferson County victim into disclosing her Social Security number and paying a fee to receive a new Social Security number and card.
Beshear said the fake federal agent demanded a payment via a stored-value card and the Louisville resident lost $600 to the scam.
“I urge all Kentuckians to hang up on any caller who asks for your Social Security number,” said Beshear. “Never provide your Social Security number or other sensitive information, like your bank account or credit card number, over the phone – unless you are confident who you are talking with.”
Beshear’s Office of Senior Protection and Mediation is asking Kentuckians to follow these tips to avoid government imposter scams.
Verify information with the legitimate government organization. If you get a call from a government official, confirm you are speaking with a legitimate employee by actually hanging up and calling the official number.
Don’t trust a cold caller. Con artists use official-sounding names to make you trust them. To make their call seem legitimate, scammers use internet technology to spoof their area code to make it look like they are calling from Washington, DC, but could be calling from anywhere in the world.
Don’t use untraceable methods of payment. If you are asked to make a payment using wire transfer, gift cards or cash it is most likely a scam.
To report scams to the Social Security Administration’s Fraud hotline dial 1-800-269-0271 and visit Beshear’s office to file an online consumer complaint.
Beshear said impersonation scams occur frequently in Kentucky.
Kentuckians were recently warned of a Medicare card scam. Con artists were pretending to be Center for Medicare and Medicaid employees calling enrollees and claiming they need to provide personal and financial information or a payment in order to receive, replace or activate their new card. Beshear said the scam was occurring ahead of the federal government mailing more than 900,000 Kentucky Medicare recipients new I.D. cards.
Beshear’s office has also warned of deputy sheriff scams where a caller claims to be a local sheriff’s deputy and demands payment and threatens arrest. Beshear recommends Kentuckians victimized by con artists to follow the steps in the Office of the Attorney General’s Identity Theft Tool Kit.
One of Beshear’s top priorities is to protect Kentucky consumers, especially seniors, from scams, abuse and exploitation. Beshear urges all Kentuckians to sign-up for Scam Alerts by texting the words KYOAG Scam to GOV311 (468311) or enroll online at http://ag.ky.gov/scams
(provided by the Office of the Attorney General)